Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"U.S. Court : Bloggers deserve freedom of the press protection" Crystal Cox Port Townsend Free Speech Case 2014 Ninth Circuit WIN.

As reported by Dan Levine (@FedCourtJunkie), the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled yesterday that a blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist.
A bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group sued a Crystal Cox for defamation over a 2011 blog post she wrote accusing them of tax fraud. A lower court found that because Cox failed to prove she was a journalist she was not entitled to the same freedom of the press protection. The 9th Circuit found it didn’t matter if Cox was a traditional reporter. Per 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz, writing for the Court:
As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable.
UCLA School of Law professor and blogger, Eugene Volokh (@VolokhC), pointed out the importance of not distinguishing bloggers from traditional press today in the world where online content dominates.
In this day and age, with so much important stuff produced by people who are not professionals, it’s harder than ever to decide who is a member of the institutional press.
What protection do bloggers now have? If blogging on a matter of public interest or about a public figure, the plaintiff will need to show, at least in the 9th Circuit, that the blogger knew what they were publishing was false or published it with reckless disregard of whether or not it was false. As for Cox, the plaintiffs can proceed with their lawsuit back in the trial court. They’ll need to prove knowledge that the post was false or with negligence on Cox’s part."


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

First Federal Court of Appeals Case that SPECIFICALLY Protects the Rights of ALL Bloggers, Citizen Journalists, and Whistle Blowers. By Reverend Crystal Cox of Port Townsend Washington

USE Your Voice.

Start a Blog, Make Videos.

Report on what is happening in Your Neck of the Woods.

Report on What Happened to You.

You have had EQUAL Rights Legally by a High Court Precedent since January of 2014.

My First Amendment Court Case was the First of it’s kind to get a High Court decision that Gave ALL Bloggers, Citizen Journalist, and Whistle blowers EQUAL rights to that of the highest paid Journalist in the highest of institutional press.

Now Retraction Laws, Shield Laws, and the First Amendment APPLIES to ALL Bloggers, Citizen Journalists and Whistleblowers EQUAL to the highest paid Journalists of the biggest media outlets in the world.

All sides fought me, threatened me, belittled me, defamed me, pressured me to quit, harassed me, gang stalked me, investigators followed me, my emails were hacked and watched daily, and I was under constant threat for years and years to hold onto this Legal Precedent for YOU to Have YOUR Voice.

In my court case, Obsidian v. Cox there was No Criminal Extortion. This was made up by the Opposition to attempt to Stop me from proceeding to the high court. And to attempt to suppress ALL of  your voices as a matter of Law. It was a Set Up by a group of attorneys, judges and big media with varying agendas.

For those who believe there was Extortion in the Crystal Cox Case, ask yourself Why None of these Court Officials, Attorneys, Judges, Cops, FBI Agents, Homeland Security, or any party private or public filed ANY criminal charges in any way so that there could be a True Investigation as to the allegations against me by Big Media. Large Law Firms, Groups of Attorneys and High Court Judges.  This was ALL to Deny the constitutional rights of Citizen Journalists, Investigative Bloggers, and Whistleblowers and to attempt to discredit the true to the best of my knowledge reporting I was doing, in that case, on Portland Oregon Judicial and Bankruptcy Court Corruption.

There was no Lies. All I reported was True to the best of my knowledge and remains to be true though I have removed the blogs per a lower court settlement.  I had got the Precedent that changed the world. I had made it to my Finish Line, my Goal and from there I let go of the battle to bring down Portland Oregon Bankruptcy Corruption.

I exposed Corruption for decades to the absolute best of my ability and with the whole truth and nothing but the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.  Now it is your turn to TELL YOUR STORY.

Many of the Articles out there about my Case, are Distorted, Jaded, Biased, Hate Filled and Flat Out False. There are some aspects to many of the news articles about my case that I do like, so it’s worth reading through to find the golden nuggets.

The First Amendment court case, Obsidian vs. Cox is cited around the world in courts large and small. This Legal Precedence has changed the world and gave YOU a platform to ROAR, so Do IT. ROAR.

I was Pro Se in the Lower Court. Meaning I represented myself, acting as my own attorney. I did so for one I did not have money for an attorney, and I did so as I knew that an attorney would force me to settle, to bow out and therefore STOP the case moving to the highest court possible and forcing a high court ruling as to what rights bloggers have / had as compared to the rights of the institutional press.

Remember that when one goes to the Ninth Circuit, attorney or not, there is no legal case citing or information allowed that was not stated, named, created in the lower court case. So my attorney could not enter new case law, but could only use what I had already used.  I chose Eugene Volokh deliberately for this task.

“Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law Professor

who represented Crystal Cox pro bono, affirmed:"

“This case is THE FIRST ONE from a federal court of appeals that specifically protects the rights of bloggers."


There are Many Articles and Much Chaos around my Case. What rises to the top and Lights up Undeniably is that ALL Now Have Equal Rights to REPORT the News, and to “Break the News” even if no one else is talking about. You are the News. FIND YOUR VOICE and Tell Your Story.

~ Reverend Crystal Cox

(Investigative Blogger Crystal L. Cox)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

"Bloggers all over the US are rejoicing as are we."

"As the case wound through the Courts, a district court eventually decided that as a blogger, Cox did not warrant the First Amendment protections of a journalist.

Law professor Eugene Volokh and others signed onto to represent Cox.
On January 17, 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court issued its decision giving Cox the same protection as a journalist. Interestingly enough, the decision was based in part on the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The Court wrote, in part:
The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones.
Bloggers all over the US are rejoicing as are we.
The decision is short, so we are including it below the fold."


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox

"Citizens United v. FEC expressly held that the First Amendment
applies equally to the professional media and to other speakers;
and all the federal circuit courts that have considered the issue have

 The most recent such decision, Obsidian Finance Group LLC
v. Cox, reached this result in an Internet speech case, though the court’s logic applies more broadly."

"Thus, for instance, in Obsidian Finance Group the Ninth Circuit reversed a district
court decision that denied defendant full First Amendment libel protection. That district
court decision rested in part on the view that defendant lacked “any education in journal-ism,” “any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity,” or “proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest.”

Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, __ F. Supp. 2d __, __ (D. Ore. 2011). Not so, said the Ninth Circuit:  “The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story.”   Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284, 1291 (9th Cir. 2014)."

" Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284, 1292 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Gardner as an example of a holding that “even consumer complaints of non-criminal conduct by a business can constitute matters of public concern”)"

"See, e.g., Obsidian Finance Group LLC v. Cox, [cite] (trial); Chan v. Ellis, [cite]
(trial). A few such cases might pique the interest of a lawyer who will take the case on appeal
pro bono. But handling a case at trial is generally much more burdensome for a lawyer
(especially one who is outside the jurisdiction) than handling it on appeal, especially
when the case involves a good deal of fact investigation.

A trial-level case is less likely to have the glamour of a potentially precedent-setting appellate case. And sometimes the defendant will be up against a plaintiff who can afford a private lawyer—for instance, if the lawsuit is over a defendant-consumer’s criticism of a business."

Source and Full Eugene Volokh Article

Blogger Crystal Cox was Pro Se in the Lower Court. The Higher Court Appeal could only use facts as per the lower court. COX won the Appeal with Eugene Volokh as her attorney, however, Volokh argued the case that COX, Pro Se, had already made in the lower court. When you appeal you cannot bring in new facts, you can only litigate what was of the record in the lower court.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

"Lieu cited the Ninth Circuit’s 2014 ruling in Obsidian Finance Group v. Crystal Cox, which found that bloggers have the same free speech protections as traditional press. ”That was a pretty awesome and amazing opinion,” he said. “And that’s the kind of things we see out of the Ninth Circuit.”

"WASHINGTON (CN) – Capitol Hill’s crosshairs turned Thursday on the Ninth Circuit just a day after a federal judge under the court’s purview became the latest to thwart efforts by the president to block Muslim immigration.

The Ninth Circuit had already earned criticism from the White House in February after it ruled 3-0 against the first iteration of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

When a federal judge on Hawaii issued an injunction against the revised executive order Wednesday, Trump complained that night at a campaign-style rally in Nashville that his new travel ban had been tailored to the “much-overturned” circuit’s “flawed ruling.”

The Ninth Circuit is the largest federal appeals court in the country, overseeing far-flung federal courts in Hawaii, Alaska, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, as well as those in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

Last month’s ruling had Trump to blast the Ninth Circuit as “in chaos” and “frankly in turmoil.” Republicans have long said the court is too big, too liberal and too slow, and they have tried for decades to break it up.

At a hearing Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee on how to restructure the court, a partisan debate erupted over the GOP’s claims that Ninth Circuit rulings are overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court more so than often than any other federal appeals court.

Vanderbilt University Law School professor Brian Fitzpatrick said he has been tracking reversal rates for several decades.

“The numbers did not look good for the Ninth Circuit back then, and they still don’t look good today,” Fitzpatrick said in written testimony. “For the last 20 years, the Ninth Circuit has been the most reversed circuit in America — and it isn’t even close.”

Numbers compiled by the fact-checking organization Politifact dispute this. It says the Supreme Court reversed 70 percent of all cases it heard from 2010-15. Though the average for the Ninth Circuit was slightly higher than that at 79 percent, it was not the highest. Two other courts clock in ahead of it.

The Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit had an 87 percent reversal rate, followed by the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit with an 85 percent ruling reversal.

Indeed the Ninth Circuit is only narrowly ahead of the 78 percent reversal rate featured by the court in fourth place, the Philadelphia-based Third Circuit.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., put the Ninth Circuit statistics a different way.

“Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Ninth Circuit decisions are overturned by the Supreme Court,” he said.

This led him to ask the panel’s five witnesses – including three federal judges from the Ninth Circuit: “Does that stat give weight to the president’s opinion, or should the courts stand up to the executive when necessary?”

“Judicial independence is important,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, the Ninth Circuit’s chief. “And I know this committee has recognized that.”

Thomas declined to address the second part of the question.

When asked how splitting the court could affect public perception of the courts as a fair and neutral arbiter, Thomas said such a move would diminish public respect for the rule of law.

“No question about that,” he said. “I hope this committee won’t engage in that kind of endeavor,” he added.

John Eastman, director of the Chapman University Fowloer School of Law, meanwhile regaled the congressmen with other problems the Ninth Circuit faces. Because of its caseload, the circuit takes 50 percent longer than the others to move from appeal to ruling, with that process spanning 18 months.

Describing the Ninth Circuit as the “Wild West,” Eastman said that collegiality among judges also suffers in the Ninth Circuit because the constant caseload buries its 29 judges.

On top of that, Eastman said the extraordinarily high combination of three-judge panels – 17,296 to be exact – prevents a coherent body of law from emerging, and undermines the circuit’s ability to get the law right. 

Because of the high number of opinions, practitioners have a hard time keeping up, which gives rise to intracircuit conflicts.

“Collegiality thus serves to check the tendencies of some judges to ‘fly solo,’ ruling according to their personal views rather than the clear commands of the law,” Eastman’s written testimony states.

Thomas, along with U.S. Circuit Judges Carlos Bea and Alex Kozinski, strenuously disputed the notion that their circuit is inefficient, or that case law is inconsistent.

“A decision by our court binds courts and litigants in the whole Western area,” Bea said.

“This minimizes the risk that the law of intellectual property – copyrights and trademarks, for instance – maritime trade, labor relations, employment discrimination, for instance – will be different in Phoenix, San Francisco or Seattle,” he added.

Splitting the court could even affect fishermen, he said.

“What law will rule Lake Tahoe, evenly split between California and Nevada,” he asked. “Will the tackle used by a Nevada fisherman be an illegal lure if his boat drifts into California waters?”

“This predictability and uniformity of law based on diversity of thought and backgrounds of the judges would suffer under any balkanization of the circuit,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kozinski told the committee that the size of the circuit has forced it to take advantage of modern technology – like video and live streams of court hearings – to bring justice closer to the people.

When the circuit heard the appeal of Trump’s first travel ban, Kozinski noted that 137,300 people used the court’s website to hear the audio stream of the oral arguments.

CNN’s live broadcast of the hearing had 1.5 million viewers, and another 138,615 people listened to the recording of the hearing.

“Think about that,” Kozinski said. “Well over 2 million people from all over the country and beyond listened to a 60-minute oral argument.”

All three judges expressed their opposition to splitting the Ninth Circuit up.

Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, both of Arizona, sponsored the legislation to spin off a new circuit for Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Arizona.

That would leave only California, Hawaii, Oregon, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam in the Ninth Circuit.

In explaining reversal rates, Eastman testified that size matters as much as the ideological make-up of the court. The bigger court, the lower the quality of its output, he said, citing a 2000 paper in the Journal of Legal Studies by the Seventh Circuit’s ever-popular Judge Richard Posner.

Chicago-based Posner found that the Ninth Circuit’s reversal rate was six times higher than the other circuits between 1985 and 1997.

There were no state additions to the Ninth Circuit during those years, but five additional judgeships were authorized in 1984. The court did not have another judgeship authorized until 2009.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asked the judges if Posner got it wrong.

Thomas said size absolutely does not affect the quality of judicial output.

“I think that our deliberations now are even better than when I joined the court, because of technology,” he responded.

Kozinski said he respects Posner, but that “Dick and I disagree all the time on all sorts of things.”

Saying the model his colleague used is only as good as his inputs, Kozinski accused Posner of focusing too much on size while ignoring context.

President Jimmy Carter had from 1977 to 1981 appointed 11 of the “most liberal judges the world has ever seen,” while the Supreme Court was moving in the opposite direction, Kozinksi said.

Chaffetz defended Trump’s attack on the Ninth Circuit amid rulings against his travel ban from it and lower courts in its clutches.

“The president was duly given, by Congress, the authority to protect our borders,” Chaffetz said. “And for these injunctions to come in place and prevent the president from doing his job is absolutely totally wrong.”

Noting that California is a populous and progressive state, and that appeals courts cannot pick and choose cases like the Supreme Court does, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., underscored the importance of the Ninth Circuit for taking on cases that “push the envelope” and “challenge the status quo.”

“That’s certainly right,” Kozinski said. “And of course that would be exacerbated if California were isolated,” he added, noting that one of the reasons for having regional circuits is so that no single state dominates.  

To drive his point home, Lieu cited the Ninth Circuit’s 2014 ruling in Obsidian Finance Group v. Crystal Cox, which found that bloggers have the same free speech protections as traditional press.

”That was a pretty awesome and amazing opinion,” he said. “And that’s the kind of things we see out of the Ninth Circuit.”