from the ouch dept
We’ve been covering the legal fight concerning the government’s desire to access Tweets and other information related to Malcolm Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protestor who was arrested. Twitter had jumped into the case to argue that users have standing to protect their own information, which the court denied. Twitter then said it would appeal, but it appears that NY State Supreme Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. doesn’t care, claiming that its failure to hand over the info may put it in contempt of court:
The judge had asked Twitter to show why it wasn’t in contempt of court after refusing to produce information about Twitter posts by protester Malcolm Harris in response to a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
“I can’t put Twitter or the little blue bird in jail, so the only way to punish is monetarily,” Sciarrino said.
Twitter and Harris’s lawyers point out that this seems to completely ignore Twitter’s right to appeal the ruling. Sciarrino again doesn’t seem to think this is an issue, insisting that his original ruling was “fair” and Twitter has had more than enough time to comply with the order. Harris’ lawyer notes that this appears to be an attempt at railroading, preventing due process from happening:
“It’s pretty outrageous that the D.A.’s office wants to prohibit Twitter from exercising its right to appeal,” said Martin Stolar, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild who represents Harris, after the hearing.
Unfortunately, that seems to be how things work these days…