Skip to content

Judges order 2 Pa. newspapers to delete stories

gavel Judges order 2 Pa. newspapers to delete stories

Two newspapers want a state judge to overturn an order requiring them to delete archived stories and other information about two defendants, cases that touch on the potential for media censorship.

The Centre Daily Times and The Daily Collegian student newspaper at Penn State were ordered to expunge records of information about the defendants, an unusual provision inserted by a defense lawyer into otherwise standard orders signed by Centre County Judge Thomas King Kistler.

Such orders typically direct public agencies to clear a person’s record in cases in which charges are dismissed or withdrawn or aren’t applicable for someone who’s a first-time offender who completes a rehabilitation program.

Attorney Joseph Amendola told the Times he included the newspapers in orders for five defendants, including the two before Kistler, because he was concerned the media’s First Amendment rights to free speech were trumping his clients’ rights to have cleared records. It’s common for attorneys to draw up legal documents for judges to consider.

Centre County Judge Bradley Lunsford, who handled the three other cases, cited free speech concerns Tuesday in signing new expungement orders, submitted by a newspaper lawyer, that rescinded an order on Friday. The new order did not require the newspapers to expunge information about the defendants, including news stories.

“Oh, my, yes. There’s definitely a First Amendment issue,” Lunsford told The Associated Press on Tuesday in a phone interview before he signed the new order.

Kistler, who received similar proposed revised orders from a newspaper lawyer, said he wanted to schedule a meeting this week with county President Judge David Grine and Amendola before taking further action.

“I want to see at this meeting what the outcome is from the defense lawyer that prepared these and see why it’s in there,” Kistler said. “Certainly we want to get it squared away. We have a very good relationship with all the media in Centre County, and we want to do what the statute requires.”

Newspapers increasingly are getting requests from private citizens asking for archived stories to be deleted out of fear, for instance, that a potential employer may find damaging information on the Internet.

One of the Pennsylvania cases involved a man who had charges including sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault withdrawn in a plea deal in which he admitted two counts of indecent assault. The other involved a woman who finished a probationary program on two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Newspapers ultimately are under no legal obligation to change archives that are factually correct, and an expungement of court records doesn’t mean the events never occurred, said Melissa Bevan Melewsky, a media law attorney for the Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

“It’s accurate when it was reported, and that means there’s nothing illegal about it,” she said. “It’s protected speech.”

Amendola did not immediately return phone messages from the AP seeking comment Tuesday. He told the Times this was a national issue bigger than the newspaper and judges.

“What’s the sense in having your record expunged if anyone can Google you and it comes up,” he was quoted by the newspaper as saying. “Ultimately, this is an issue that needs to be decided by the legislature.”

Copies of the initial orders including the newspapers were not available publicly because those documents are covered under the expungement guidelines, a county court clerk said.

The Centre County judges usually sign 30 to 50 such orders at a time once or twice a week. The orders are vetted by the probation department and the district attorney’s office before going to a judge to approve that outside agencies follow suit.

In the five cases, orders initially directed records of information to be expunged — as with public agencies — but did not specify to the newspapers what that entailed.

Kistler and Lunsford said judges typically don’t read the text of each order and assume the orders are consistent with law. The orders are “certainly not things that we, as judges … create. They’re created by lawyers,” Kistler said.

Lunsford said his new orders, first submitted for approval by Times attorneys, also rescinded a mandate that a private website that allows the public to search criminal records also expunge information.

Defense lawyers may be frustrated about the availability of information on the Internet, Lunsford said.

“But what they don’t realize from the court’s perspective, we only have jurisdiction over government offices that play a part in the prosecution of a particular individual, and no one else,” Lunsford said.

The Times had published short stories on the cases of two defendants, while the other three cases appeared in weekly court reports. Executive editor Bob Heisse likened archived stories to historical records of facts, which aren’t altered.

“I appreciate (Lunsford) acting as fast as he could to straighten this out,” Heisse said. “It’s very clear that it was on the wrong path.”

Source: AP News

View the original article

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Freedom of Speech.

Tagged with , , , , .

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.


Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?