San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes--see all posts re Judge Hayes
San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes' most egregious anti-speech injunction against this blogger was overturned, but, contrary to the ABA article below, the constitutionality of an earlier injunction was not addressed by the California Court of Appeal. The earlier injunction is now under appeal.
Contrary to the American Bar Association article below, the California Court of Appeal DID NOT ADDRESS the question of whether a San Diego judge had the power to ban a woman (me) from making statements that had been found by a judge (without weighing the evidence, using a technicality) to be false and defamatory.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes used a technicality, not a consideration of the evidence, to find my statements to be defamatory. She noticed that I had placed my evidence in the wrong column and so she threw out my entire opposition to Plaintiff's motion for summary adjudication. (For good measure, she also threw out my evidence!) Plaintiff's won their motion by default. There was no weighing of evidence.
The Court of Appeal merely noted that the earlier injunction could be enforced since it had not been challenged. The ABA Journal should have mentioned that California Law allows a prior restraint against speech ONLY when that speech has been found defamatory AT TRIAL.
The reason the Court of Appeal did not address the legitimacy of the injunction against specific statements was that I did not (at that time) challenge the earlier injunction. I did, however, recently file a challenge the earlier injunction. My new appeal is currently before the California Court of Appeal.
In reality, I prevailed completely in the Aug. 5, 2011 Court of Appeal decision. The Court overturned the injunction that I challenged.
Judge’s Sanction Banning Website Mention of Law Firm and Members Violated 1st AmendmentMartha E. Neil, a legal affairs writer/online, joined the ABA Journal staff in 2001. She had worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times and daily newspapers in New Jersey and Oregon. She also has practiced insurance and media law, most recently at Chicago’s Jenner & Block. She holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and B.A. in English from Yale University.
Aug 8, 2011
By Martha Neil
A California judge had the power to ban a San Diego woman from continuing to make statements online that had been found to be false and defamatory.
[Maura Larkins' comment: In fact, the Court of Appeal found no such thing. See above.] But the trial court went too far, an appellate panel found, when it banned Maura Larkins, as a sanction for continued violation of the rules, from making any mention whatsoever of Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, or the firm's members, reports the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.
In addition to being an unconstitutional prior restraint in violation of the first amendment, the Internet speech ban was not the least restrictive means of achieving compliance with the trial court's ruling, held the 4th District Court of Appeal in its Friday ruling.