Can Anyone Publish and Criticize a Judicial Ruling (Including a Restraining Order)?

Posted on December 29, 2017

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A judicial ruling, like a law, is among what the U.S. Copyright Office terms edicts of government, and edicts of government cannot be hushed. “If either statutes or decisions could be made private property, it would be in the power of an individual to shut out the light by which we guide our actions.” Wheaton v. Peters, 33 US (8 Pet) 591, 668 (1834). Public access to judicial documents is a common law right.

Why is this worthy of mention?

Below is an excerpt from testimony given during an aborted trial proceeding that sought to have this writer jailed in 2016 for contempt of a judicial injunction. The speaker is Phil Bredfeldt, husband of Tiffany Bredfeldt, a woman the writer knew for three months in 2005 and hasn’t had any contact with since 2006, who admitted during the same prosecution that she had accused the writer “to the Court multiple times [and] to multiple police departments, detectives, federal agencies, and other officials in several states [over what has become an 11-year period].” She was eager to impress this upon a judge but less keen for the whole world to know about it. The Bredfeldts petitioned an injunction against the writer in 2013 that unconstitutionally prohibited him from talking about his own case.

One of the many heinous consequences of a restraining order process run amok is the erroneous faith, held by both trial court judges and complainants eager to conceal mischief, that judicial rulings may be suppressed. They may not be. Similarly, defendants may not be prohibited from talking about their experiences in the judicial meat mill. It’s unconstitutional.

American plaintiffs want to exploit court process yet remain anonymous; American attorneys want to bend or break the rules without having reminders of infractions they’ve been caught at available for public consumption; and American trial judges want the freedom to enter sketchy rulings and the security of knowing that those sketchy rulings will never be scrutinized.

They’re in the wrong country.

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