Friday, June 24, 2011
Civil Beat: Subpoena dropped for names of MauiTime website commenters
by Larry Geller
While I was off at the all-day Access to Justice conference at the UH law school, Civil Beat got the scoop on the Maui Police dropping their subpoena asking for the identification of commenters on a MauiTime website. Editor John Temple did a good job emphasizing the importance of protecting the public interest that the Maui police were trying to violate.
Read the article at: Maui Cops Come to Their Senses — Drop Subpoena (6/24/2011).
Allowing easy access to information such as the Maui Police broadly requested violates the sanctity of what might be described as a privacy privilege that protects the public interest in a way similar to an attorney-client or doctor-client privilege of confidentiality. All of these can be breached for good and lawful reasons, but are not to be surrendered lightly. Strictly speaking there is no privilege with regard to press sources, which is why governments have enacted shield laws, for example.
Kudos to the MauiTime editors and publisher for sticking to their principles. I agree with John Temple that it is a shame that taxpayer and private funds were expended to end what was an obviously unreasonable request from the start.
I also wonder if the Maui police might, heaven forfend, have been seeking some payback for the earlier MauiTime article on alleged assault by one of “Dog” Chapman’s security guards and a police officer. See story here. The thought just crossed my mind.
Just in case the Maui police department and prosecutors office decides to usurp the US Constitution and end free speech again let me be the first to say what a fine job they are doing. :0
So who is the judge who signed the subpoena? Who is the prosecutor who requested the subpoena?
Let me know please.
mahalos, George Peabody MolokaiMAN@basicisp.net