Teri Buhl — 'Jurno,' Private Tweeter And Lawsuit Enthusiast — Sentenced To 30 Days In Jail For Harassment

from the cue-angry-email/comment-in-3... dept

This is most likely the last Teri Buhl update, but it is with a small amount of schadenfreude that I point your attention to this news item from the New Canaan Journal.

Teri Buhl, who was found guilty on misdemeanor charges of harassment and breach of peace, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, one-year probation and a strict order not to interact with the victims’ family, in Norwalk Superior Court today.

The New Canaan woman was accused of harassing her then-boyfriend’s daughter by posting parts of the girl’s private journals online in 2010. Buhl, 40, was acquitted of interfering with a police investigation.

It has been rather quiet on the Buhl front for the past couple of months and the threatened lawsuits (of which there were several — ranging from claims of defamation to supposed copyright infringement) have failed to materialize. Buhl’s claims that her public tweets were non-publishable failed the Internet Laugh Test, as did her follow-up claims that her copyrighted Twitter profile photo (no, not the photo of her — the photo in the background — read her side of the story for full details) could not be published without her permission.

Buhl’s lawyer has stated he will appeal the verdict, as one does. He also stated, “She’s not going to jail,” and that he’s known her for 25 years and can “attest to her character.” The girl whose father she was dating can probably attest to Buhl’s character as well, seeing as her diary pages were dug out of the back of her dresser drawer and publicly displayed on Facebook. (If you’re interested in reading the arrest warrant, it’s archived here.)

Still, a brief stint in jail doesn’t necessarily mean no lawsuits will be filed. There is something of a tradition of certain prisoners using their downtime to file lawsuit after meritless lawsuit. One particularly determined inmate filed over 2,600 lawsuits in six years. But I imagine Teri won’t end up serving time. This is a first offense and even though the judge said he “just couldn’t excuse” Buhl’s actions (when rejecting her lawyers’ request for probation only), once the appeals process wraps up, I don’t see her ending up with much more than probation. Buhl has had a chance to observe (firsthand) the criminal side of the legal system. I wonder if she’s still in a hurry to acquaint herself with the civil side.

Now that this is “on the books,” we’re looking at someone who believes they can control the dissemination of their public statements while simultaneously holding the belief that publicly displaying the contents of a teenager’s diary is perfectly fine, as long as you’re a hard-hitting “jurno” chasing down a story.

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Comments on “Teri Buhl — 'Jurno,' Private Tweeter And Lawsuit Enthusiast — Sentenced To 30 Days In Jail For Harassment”

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Chrissy in Greenwich says:

Re: No Facebook Harassment

Tim –
That arrest warrant you linked to says the New Canaan police charged her with harassment because she mailed the daughter’s notes to the father, Paul Brody, and they felt harassed by that. So how could the harassment charge be related to anything put up on facebook. I think that would be the breach of peace charge.

Also here in CT you have to prove the person intended to harass someone via direct contact. The law doesn’t take into account how the receiving person feels and posting something on facebook isn’t direct contact. You have to actually call them or email them or send a fax.

Facebook + Teen + harass charge is a nice headline but it doesn’t appear to be what the journalist is charged for or found guilty here. That Hearst paper you quoted is often wrong and Buhl use to report for them at Greenwich Time. They hate her because she exposed the top editor for favor to ad buys and holding hard news reports. The local blogs and other papers here all wrote about it when it happen-she was a hero. The finance types in Greenwich all fear what Buhl will report on them but also read everything she reports.

You know she didn’t go to jail right and was released out of the courthouse?
This case always just reeked like some rich girl got her dad to pay off the cops to get Buhl arrested so people would stop talking about his kids hard party life.

I’m more concerned that anytime my GHS student writes his opinion of someone on his Facebook page he could get arrested now because of the Judge’s ruling on the Buhl case. The whole thing feels like our local court just wants to criminalize speech.

Tim- For someone who is a big advocate of fair use in storytelling where is your worry over free speech?

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