Bill Schmalfeldt persists in writing that he is innocent of harassing me and that the peace order issued against him is somehow invalid.
There was a trial held in June in the Circuit Court during which Schmalfeldt was given a fair hearing while being represented by able counsel. Based on the evidence presented by both sides, here is what the court found—
1. I did place Schmalfeldt on notice to stop communicating directly with me on 15 February, 2013.
2. Schmalfeldt was aware of that notice as evidenced by his sending a tweet on 15 February referencing it.
3. Schmalfeldt continued to contact me directly after being put on notice. Schmalfeldt’s description of how Twitter handled @mentions and @replies was found to be inconsistent with Twitter’s Rules and Best Practices.
4. Schmalfeldt’s messages to me via Twitter were found to meet the elements harassment as defined by Md Criminal Law § 3-803.
5. Schmalfeldt’s messages to me via Twitter were found to lack a legitimate political purpose and not to be for the purpose of providing information to others; thus, his messages were not covered by the First Amendment exceptions in the law.
6. Because all the elements of the crime of harassment were proven, the court found that Schmalfeldt had harassed me during the period in question.
7. Based on evidence presented concerning Schmalfeldt’s behavior up until the night before the trial, the court found that he was likely to continue to harass me.
None of that is up for relitigation. Those are the facts going forward, and both sides have to argue based on those facts.
Based on all those findings, the court issued a peace order. Schmalfeldt has filed a motion to modify the peace order, the net of which would be to allow him to continue to harass me if he says he is doing “journalism.” I won’t comment of the merits (if any) of his motion, except to say that I don’t believe that it will be granted at the hearing coming up on the 16th.
The Cabin Boy is correct in saying that he hasn’t been convicted of harassment. OJ wasn’t convicted of murder. But, like OJ, Schmalfeldt has been adjudicated to have committed a act in a civil case. Just as one can refer to OJ as a murderer, one can call Bill Schmalfeldt a harasser.
Of course, he denies it. Perhaps he should spend his time looking for the real harasser.
Oh, one more thing … During the District Court trial, the judge let Schmalfeld off because I did not do a good job of pointing out the Cabin Boy’s tweet referencing my notice. It was in evidence, but I did not emphasize it properly. Schmalfeldt got away with claiming that he wasn’t properly on notice. It’s pretty clear from the judge’s warning to Schmalfeldt at the end of the case that all the other elements were proven. Indeed, the judge put him on notice and told him to knock it off.
The warning I want to give you is very specific, and it’s not an unusual warning for me to give. The battle line is drawn. He doesn’t want to hear from you, and that means no specific things addressed to him. If I was convinced that you had been put on notice and there were a course of conduct specifically addressed to him, I believe that that is something in the ordinary context of events that this statute would cover. Ah, I didn’t write the statute, but it’s constitutional up to this point, and it can circumscribe various freedoms that you might, in fact, have. Plus, it can also subject you ultimately, as it already has, to a criminal case where you may or may not win, I don’t know, [inaudible] look at the criminal case. I have it here. [inaudible] You’ve got to ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” You may conclude that it is. Some people, ah, are willing to go to jail for their beliefs, but I see that as a risk in this, ah, ongoing exploration of Internet First Amendment rights. Just a thought to share with you. I’m not going to grant the Peace Order for the reason I stated, but you are on notice, and hopefully, ah, you’ll abide by the conditions that Mr. Hoge has imposed in terms of your contact with him, and, ah, continue your debate in a peaceful, civil, and legal manner.
The Cabin Boy should have paid attention to the judge.