Judge Orders Newspaper To Delete Article, Newspaper Reminds Judge That It's In The US And The 1st Amendment Exists

from the welcome-to-america dept

This seems to happen all too often, but a local judge has forgotten about the whole 1st Amendment thing. Last week, Bergen County Superior Court Judge Jane Gallina-Mecca ordered the Bergen Dispatch to take down a news article. The article was about a specific family court case, involving custody of a child. It's not surprising that there might be some concern over privacy rights in such cases, but even so, that does not allow a judge to flat out order a newspaper to take down an article -- even more so when the order came out of a closed hearing where no one from the newspaper was even present. In response, the Bergen Dispatch posted a fairly snarky article that reiterates some of the details from the case, and concludes with this wonderful paragraph:
While the Bergen Dispatch reviews its options we have confirmed that Bergen County does currently remain part of the State of New Jersey and that currently New Jersey is still part of the Union of states that is governed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As such, Bergen County citizens continue to enjoy the right to freedom of speech and the right to a free press.
Informed of this little tidbit of information, the judge has since vacated the original order, but it's still astounding that it had to go that far in the first place.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, bergen dispatch, censorship, jane gallina-mecca, new jersey, prior restraint


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  1. icon
    jilocasin (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 5:30am

    You have to admire how this particular judge went out of her way, not only to disregard the First Amendment, but to cite a completely inapplicable law as the basis for her order.

    From the linked article:

    “As far as we can tell from the Order, the court made no findings of fact and appears to have issued the order in a summary proceeding. --- Notably, the only authority cited for the action was N.J.S.A. 9:8-1 et seq. This section is currently listed as the Following: “Chapter 8. Orphan Asylums; Guardianship and Indenture of Children [Repealed].”


    I wonder, did she truly not know the law she was referencing, or cynically thought that no one would look it up.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 5:31am

    Fascists of America!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 5:33am

    Sounds to me like the judge is a secret Nazi. LOLS

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 5:53am

    Stay classy New Jersey

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:00am

    this judge is making decisions on cases? really?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:10am

    Family Court

    A lot of the Constitution doesn't really apply to family court(like the right to an attorney, right to a speedy trial, ect). It is completely amazing what people get away with in family court.
    Apparently this stupid judge forgot that the first amendment still does apply in the real world though...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    rebrad (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:38am

    Constitution?

    Progressives don't think the United States Constitution applies to them or their actions. What is surprising is that the Bergen Dispatch isn't in lock-step with it's fascist brothers in the MSM. The Bergen Dispatch and the people behind it will be severely punished.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:38am

    Re: Family Court

    Yeah, it's not hard to understand what happened. Family court tends to be a nightmare of judges just doing whatever the hell they want and people being stuck dealing with it. She probably forgot there was a real world at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:46am

    Re:

    perhaps she viewed herself as above the law and that her desires supercede the rights of everyone else

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:46am

    Re:

    I went to the New Jersey web site and tried to look up 9:8-1. The law appears to skip from 9:7-7 to 9:10-1.

    So, yeah. The law is not currently on the books, whatever it was. And even if it WAS on the books, it would be unconstitutional to use it this way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re:

    The surprising thing is that she didn't haul the paper before her before rescinding the order.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    DannyB (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re:

    TechDirt seriously needs a Sad but True button.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    DannyB (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    Fascists Without Borders!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    RD, 1 Jun 2015 @ 7:47am

    Re: Constitution?

    "Progressives don't think the United States Constitution applies to them or their actions."

    Yeah because no right-wing conservative ever held such beliefs or said the Constitution is "just a god-damned piece of paper" or initiated anything like the Patriot Act. That was all liberals. Actually, it was all Obama, for the last 50 years even.

    Do you people even listen to yourselves? You spew ridiculous statements like this the kind you would never accept from the other side. The dissonance is astonishing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    minijedimaster (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Constitution?

    Let me get you some cheese for that whine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Constitution?

    Don't you know? Obama is actually an immortal time travel from another galaxy. That's why he had to fake his birth certificate. His overall goal is to turn the entire planet into a resort for his fellow aliens where people will exist to serve the guests and be their dinner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:02am

    Re: Family Court

    Mainly because the rights you state are criminal rights, not civil ones. In ANY civil case you do not have the right to a speedy trial or a right to an attorney.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Constitution?

    The Patriot Act passed 98-1 in the Senate when it was first passed. (Although, to be fair, the NSA just ignored anything that was supposed to limit them in that act, such as the word "relevant".)

    There are good people and bad people in both political parties. There are unprincipled people who will portray themselves as having whatever beliefs they think will get them into power, and there are people who sincerely hold their beliefs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:05am

    Hopefully this complete failure to understand the law will draw much more focus on this court.
    Strike 1 - Whats this first amendment crap.
    Strike 2 - I'll just cite random laws, that do not apply and no longer exist.
    Strike 3 - I'll just have hearings and not allow people to be represented and demand they kowtow to my demands.

    It would appear that this Judge needs a refresher course in the law, and given some of the information out there about this case and how long it has languished raises serious concerns about that entire court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:21am

    Re: Constitution?

    The judge is a conservative.
    As rebrad proves, cons are idiots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    PRMan, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Constitution?

    She has a hyphenated last name, so she MUST be a liberal!

    No, wait, her last name is Mecca, so she MUST be a terrorist!

    I'm so confused...

    How about she's just an idiot because she doesn't know the law or the constitution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re:

    Seems she might have meant 9:6-8.10 (a statute that covers the confidentiality of child abuse reports), but that's one heck of a typo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 12:30pm

    New Jersey judge?

    I suppose he was appointed by Governor Christie? No one else would appoint a judge so deficient in knowledge of Constitutional principles. Oh, there is Brownback in Kansas, Walker in Wisconsin, ... Never mind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Family Court

    That would be correct.
    And Civil cases are where lawyers make the REAL money. In fact in family courts lawyers have been shown to purposefully drag out cases for the sole purpose of dragging out fees.
    It is disgusting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Pragmatic, 2 Jun 2015 @ 6:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    [Sad but true]

    This will have to do, DannyB.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Jimmy, 2 Jun 2015 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re:

    Don't most judges?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Adrian Vance, 2 Jun 2015 @ 11:01am

    Question

    And this man is a judge?

    Google "Two Minute Conservative" for brevity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Larry Velasco, 2 Jun 2015 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Family Court

    Check the background of this dip-shit Judge. See where her views lie.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Larry Velasco, 2 Jun 2015 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Stupidity

    This person is typical of the type of junk they are turning out at law schools of today. Just like online courses. The industry is being ruined by online schools. PERIOD. This Judge should be DISBARRED.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    Bergman (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Question

    I kinda suspect, given the judge's name is Jane, that the judge isn't a man at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Andre Jackson, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:59pm

    HIgh

    She needs to come off her "high horse".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Law student (not US), 6 Jun 2015 @ 7:47am

    Re:

    When I had to do court observation in first year, the judges' citations were either highly abbreviated (just referring to the roman numeral for the sub-sub-number (e.g referring to clause 1 b iii as just "3") and relaying on everyone knowing what he meant from context) or entirely irrelevant (he referred to a clause about sentencing donors for a guy who was 40+, and to one about mitigating factors which were utterly inapplicable).

    I get the strong impression that judges at lower levels tend to rely on making decisions based on general principles and just throw citations in as a nod to proper procedure, and rely on the fact that no-one is going to appeal their decisions and that the court reporter will fix their citations before reporting the case.

    (The barristers weren't much better: one cited evidence which entirely contradicted his position, and wasn't caught out until the judge remembered what the original evidence was a few minutes after he finished talking; one started making counterproductive arguments until the judge told him to shut up; a few of them made totally nonsense citations; and one of them got a citation right and then misread it so that it favoured her, she hesitated while reading it too, so I think she must have misread it, decided to use it, and then noticed what it actually said.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    SBVA (profile), 26 Jan 2019 @ 11:43am

    Crooked Judge

    Never before have I been in front of a judge who didn’t understand the laws, and simply made shit up as she went along. The woman even goes as far as to change court transcripts after fucking up decisions which are not predicated on fact nor law. Literally and figuratively, who plays favourites with attorneys that she has a prior relationship with. Chris Christie, your poor judgement never ceases to amaze.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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