The appeal of the Walker v. Maryland, et al. lawsuit is before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. I have not done much reporting on the course of that appeal because I have been working with Aaron Walker as his paralegal. I know too much about the case, and I did not want to divulge too much to the adverse parties with a slip of the keyboard. There will be no more briefing on the case after today, so I’m going to begin reporting what I know.
The appellees in the case are the State of Maryland and Brett and Tetyana Kimberlin. Originally, Aaron sued the State seeking to have the laws that he had been falsely charged under declared unconstitutional. The Kimberlins were added as defendants in devolved into a malicious prosecution claim. When Judge Mason found the laws constitutional and dismissed the case against the State, he ordered the case severed into two separate cases so that the claim against the Kimberlins could continue, but the Clerk of the Circuit Court has refused to obey that order. Thus, what should have been two separate appeals is one.
Today, we’ll take a look at the underlying facts of the case. Tomorrow and the next day, we’ll take a look at the cases against the two sets of appellees.
In July, 2013, Brett and Tetyana Kimberlin were estranged from each other. After Brett (I will refer to the Kimberlins by their first names for simplicity) sought a protective order against his wife and filed a bogus petition for an involuntary psych evaluation of her, Aaron Walker offered her pro bono legal assistance and, working with me, arranged for her to have representation by a Maryland lawyer. In an apparent attempt at revenge for Aaron’s helping Tetyana, Brett filed a false Application for Statement of Charges which resulted in Aaron being charged with harassment under Maryland Criminal Law § 3-803. The basis of the charge was that Aaron had written about Brett on Twitter and his blog. The charge was dropped.
As the Gentle Reader who has followed this blog for a while knows, Brett continued his lawfare against Aaron and others, including me. In March, 2015, he filed a bogus peace order petition against me which was denied by both the District and Circuit Courts. The basis of his petition was that I had allegedly harassed Tetyana’s elder daughter by writing about Brett on this blog. Rather than appeal that petition further, he drafted and Tetyana filed false Applications for Statement of Charges against Aaron and me which resulted in our being charged with online harassment of a minor under Maryland Criminal Law § 3-805(b)(2). Those charges were dropped.
Aaron sued the State of Maryland, claiming that the State was acting as Brett’s catspaw in the suppression of his First Amendment rights and that the laws being used were unconstitutional. The Circuit Court ruled that Aaron did not have standing his suit as it was originally drafted, but allowed him to amend his complaint. The Kimberlins were added as defendants. As noted above, Judge Mason found the laws constitutional and dismissed the case against the State. The case went to trial against the Kimberlins, and the Court found that they had probable cause to file their complaints. Aaron is appealing the finding that §§ 3-803 and 3-805 are constitutional and certain procedural errors during the trial.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at Aaron’s constitutional challenge to Maryland’s harassment statutes and how they can have the effect of chilling free speech on the Internet.
UPDATE—2018 JAN 03 05:03:33 UTC tag/walker-v-kimberlin-et-al
2018 JAN 03 05:03:48 UTC tag/graces-law
2018 JAN 03 05:13:39 UTC tag/tetyana-kimberlin