UPDATE—Dan Valenti tells his story here.
UPDATE 2—Ken at Popehat has this to say.
As I reported earlier, Massachusetts District Court Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega issued a “harassment prevention order” against Dan Valenti whose web site provided critical coverage of the actions of Meredith Nilan, the daughter of a senior court official. Ms. Nilan struck a pedestrian with her car leaving him with a broken neck. She drove off and was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, but in a deal with prosecutors, she will avoid any jail time in the case. Judge Sanabria-Vega ordered Mr. Valenti to stop blogging about Nilan and required that he take down his prior posts about her and remove “any and all references” to Nilan on “any and all” web sites. As if he would have control over Google cache.
Open Markets has a follow up story here. On the surface this looks like the group of local bigwigs looking out for one of their kids, but it’s still a First Amendment issue. Mr. Valenti deserves our support.
Ken at Popehat reports on the case of Planet Valenti, a blog about local affairs in Massachusetts that has been hit with a questionable restraining order. This case involves blogging about the daughter of a court official. She was in a traffic accident and was charged with hit and run. Popehat has more details, so I’ll summarize by saying that it appears that the court system for which her father was a Chief Probation Officer dealt with her case in a rather suspicious manner. Dan Valenti blogged about it, and the woman sought and received a restraining order from the court system where her father is an official.
The order not only enjoined further writing (as did the
Brett Kimberlin Lord Voldemort peace orders) it required that previous posts be taken down. Dan Valenti has complied with the order, but Google Cache still has this. The order is being appealed. The court date for the appeal is 9 July. Ken at Popehat is working to find pro bono counsel for Mr. Valenti.
For the record the woman’s name is Meridith Nilan. Her father is Clifford J. Nilan, Chief Probation Officer of the Berkshire Superior Court.