First Amendment Rights from Beyond the Grave: Defense of a Suicide’s Publication of His Final Words by the Randazza Legal Group

Posted on March 20, 2015

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“I couldn’t flee and I could not fight. I was never going to be allowed to heal or recover. I wish I were better at articulating the psychological and emotional trauma I experienced. I could fill a book with all the lies and mysterious rulings of the Court. Never have I experienced this kind of pain. I asked for help, but good men did nothing and evil prevailed.”

Chris Mackney (1968–2013)

An emailed riposte from Las Vegas attorney Marc Randazza was introduced to my attention this week. It was an answer to a move by the “estranged wife” of a man who committed suicide in 2013 to have the man’s suicide note removed from the blog A Voice for Men.

The genesis of this dispute appears to be that Mr. Christopher Hines Machnij a/k/a Christopher Hines Mackney and his estranged wife were in an acrimonious relationship. Due to the strains of that relationship, Mr. Mackney started a blog in order to express his thoughts about his treatment in the family law system. This culminated in a suicide note, which he published to his blog from Washington, D.C., on December 29, 2013, and then he committed suicide on December 29, 2013. His writing and his suicide note were admittedly unflattering to your client. Your client then petitioned a Virginia state court to grant her some ambiguous (and questionable) intellectual property rights to the blog’s contents, which she is using to attempt to purge Mr. Mackney’s expression from every corner possible. One of those corners is my client’s blog.

[…]

It is our position that A Voice for Men’s republication of the suicide note is not copyright infringement, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 107. Accordingly, even if Mr. Mackney were to rise from the dead and insist upon the depublication of the suicide note, it is my client’s position that it has a right to continue publication of the letter.

Perusal of Mr. Randazza’s email, which is masterfully composed, is recommended to anyone invested in the right to redress perceived injustices by the public exercise of his or her voice.

Christopher Mackney

I’ve read Mr. Mackney’s “suicide note,” which is neither a manifesto of hate nor a farewell-cruel-world. It’s a supremely calm and sincere apology that’s all the more haunting for its quiet lucidity and resignation.

What Mr. Mackney describes in his final statement (dated four days after Christmas) will be familiar to anyone who’s endured something similar: the isolation, alienation, and paralysis; the mute indifference from anyone who could have intervened; the loss of identity, emotional decay, and financial ruin; and the hopelessness that comes from repeated confirmations that resistance is futile.

The consequences of the court’s intrusion into family and interpersonal matters—and the imposition of its judgment—are seldom viewed with the gravity they deserve.

Much of the debate of issues orbital to the events that prompted Mr. Mackney’s suicide occurs in the abstract. Commentators’ opinions (and they are legion) can rarely be seen to acknowledge the real-life strains and torments that real, live accused people suffer.

What is animating fodder for conversation to some, however, leads others to kill themselves.

Copyright © 2015 RestrainingOrderAbuse.com

*Among Mr. Mackney’s final words are an adjuration to stand up and speak out in defense of the abused (his blog resided at GoodMenDidNothing.com).

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