Skip to comments.Bloggers Arrested for Exposing Public Corruption
Posted on 11/20/2005 4:53:55 PM PST by kenn5
Dr. Elsebeth Baumgartner and Bryan DuBois run a blog called Erie Voices that focuses on local issues in northern Ohio, especially those that are underreported by local newspapers. Many of their posts deal with judicial and governmental corruption in northern Ohio.
The bloggers were arrested in July on charges of intimidation, retaliation, and possession of criminal tools (a computer). Their trial began yesterday. The charges originated from a complaint made by retired visiting Judge Richard Markus, who alleges that Baumgartner and DuBois intimidated and threatened him in 2004 prior to a civil trial in which Baumgartner was the defendant, as reported by the North County Gazette.
The bloggers believe the indictments against them were for "publishing about judicial corruption." Daniel Kasaris, the Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor who filed the charges against Baumgartner and DuBois, had been the subject of criticism on the Erie Voices blog. Baumgartner and DuBois accused Kasaris of submitting a forged indictment the day before a pre-trial hearing. More specifically, the bloggers claim on their site, Erie Voices, that the grand foreman's signature was forged, contains numerous misspellings and does not resemble other Cuyahoga County indictments.
Baumgartner was sent to Cuyahoga County jail, where she spent 10 days in solitary confinement until the presiding judge in the case, Judge Shirley Saffold reduced her bond from $360,000 to $25,000, as reported in the North County Gazette. The request for solitary confinement and the large bail bond was made by Daniel Kasaris. DuBois's bail was originally set at $150,000 at the request of Kasaris but was later reduced. This unusually high bond amount was especially outrageous considering DuBois's lack of a criminal record and served in the Marines for eight years.
The Ohio Libertarian Party is helping defend Baumgartner and DuBois. Robert Butler, the Executive Director of the Ohio Libertarian Party, stated, "We are very concerned about the plight of Internet activists." Butler is looking to draw more attention to their case, noting the importance of protecting bloggers' rights. He added, "Where would we be without society's muckrakers? The Internet is a leveler. A single person can challenge a corrupt system if they have the freedom to speak online."
Libertarian Party national headquarters attempted to contact Daniel Kasaris' office for comment but are still waiting for a response.
This can't be good! Freedom of speech is for everyone!
Too bad the LP stands for unlimited illegal immigration :(
Corruption isn't hard to find up there, believe me.
Could you imagine the furor if Dan Rather had been arrested for his shenanigans in connection with his bogus documents debacle, or any of his many forays in yellow journalism?
For that matter, how many journalists are NOT guilty of the above standard for how they've treated GW Bush. This is outrageous.
Free Speech for me but not for thee.
The little s*** detector went off with this story for a number of reasons. Was the accusation against the prosecutor accurate? If it's like a lot of the flaming I've seen on the Internet - that is, opinion substantiated by overheated emotion - the bloggers are in real trouble. On the other hand, if the accusation IS accurate, then this is real trouble as the state tries to recreate the Peter Zenger trial online - and maybe this time the state will win, especially if they start trying to apply different rules to online expression compared to more traditional media.
My hope is that, in the end, anyone blogging or writing on the Internet has the same broad "freedom of the press, and of expression" that all other media has. Of course, you should still be able to sue for libel or defamation - which will be interesting in itself, seeing how far apart physically some of the complainants would be.
Thanks for posting this. I'll keep an eye on it.
Clearly you are not a Liberal...they would shout you down for such a claim.
"Sharpei diem - Seize the wrinkled dog."
Wouldn't that be "carpe sharpei"?
(Sorry, love the tag line. Iust spent entirely too much time thinking and far too little just enjoying!)
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