Friday, June 22, 2012

Aaron Walker Fights Unconstitutional Gag Order

This is great news (Investors Business Daily, via Dan Riehl).

Back on May 29th, Brett Kimberlin won a peace order hearing in Maryland District Court against Aaron Walker, claiming that Walker’s blogging and tweeting of Kimberlin’s violent past and his previous interactions with Kimberlin in court constituted harassment.

Judge C. J. Vaughey granted Kimberlin his peace order. Walker was also arrested after the hearing because Kimberlin had filed a criminal complaint the weekend before the hearing stating that Walker had violated a temporary peace order. As Capital Hill noted last Friday, the Maryland State Attorney dropped those charges, a victory for Walker.

Now Aaron Walker has retained the services of attorney Reginald Bours to fight the peace order. Uploaded here is a letter Bours has sent to Kimberlin. Bours does not mince words:

This is a complex case, and, as a lawyer, I try to see both sides of an issue. However, based on my review of the facts, I do not believe you have had a proper basis to file either of the peace orders you have presented to District Court Commissioners, usually late at night on weekends.

The attached motion addressed every citizen’s right to free speech. If you truly respect that right, you should withdraw this peace order.


The motion Bours refers to is an emergency motion he has filed for a partial stay or a modification of Kimberlin’s peace order that would in effect lift the peace order until the Appeals Court hears the case on July 5th.

The motion is worth reading for the case it lays out against Kimberlin’s so-called evidence. What’s most revealing is that Judge Vaughey not only ignored the Brandenburg standard for speech, he also appears to have ignored Maryland law.

On page 2 of the motion, Bours notes that the Maryland statute on peace orders states that it “does not apply to peaceable activity intended to express a political view or provide information to others.” It also notes that “in Galloway v. State, the Court of Appeals specifically stated that Maryland’s harassment statute ‘...expressly eliminate constitutionally protected speech from its ambit.’”

I repeat what I wrote in previous blog post: “Vaughey is technically a ‘retired’ judge. Perhaps he should enjoy retirement in the more traditional fashion of not going back to one’s old job.”

Robert Stacy McCain has more. The appeal and injuction on Walker's behalf is not just limited to the State of Maryland, it's a federal one as well.

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