Courier Post news and editor Jim Walsh have repeatedly reported on issues affecting Camden citizens, including reports of government foul-play. But in a criminal case having the potential to censor and cloak New Jersey citizens in a blanket of fear for clicking the Like and Share buttons on Facebook, the Courier Post and editor Jim Walsh missed the magnitude of this First Amendment violation. (mock image above).
Nearly three years ago, a man posted videos and website reports exposing foul-play by Camden Prosecutors and Judges. Amongst the postings were humorous parody videos about pets that allegedly offended Camden Assistant Prosecutor Tracy A. Cogan.
The content of the videos did not include speech implying threats, obscenities, or depictions of animal cruelty.
To secure a warrant for the author’s arrest, Assistant Prosecutor Cogan pled to Judge Lee A. Solomon, who sight-unseen violated the First Amendment without a substantial State interest, issued a gag order that now restrains the author from posting online similar content.
If the restraint upon the author’s rights to post online (parody and criticism) becomes a precedent, then New Jersey citizens shall find themselves at the mercy of costly and frivolous litigation for simply Liking and Sharing animal posts, or any content vital to exposing foul-play in our government.
Keep in mind… Without a legislative enactment, Judge Solomon erroneously interpreted the New Jersey stalking law in such a way that citizens are now threatened with jail time for the act of posting online, which includes clicking the Like and Share button. This interpretation violates the intent of the stalking laws. Judge Solomon’s interpretation is the reason why dozen of cases, such as those in Camden, are being overturned by higher courts on a regular basis.
The Camden County Justice System is now charging:
… whether or not your online posts are kindhearted or mean-spirited, the act of posting is now considered criminal conduct in South Jersey, … including posts about animals …
All that matters is the person or subject of the content be emotionally distressed.
Charging a speaker criminally for the emotional distress of others because of what he/she reads, is a violation of the First Amendment and an epidemic spreading across our nation. See Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell.
Such a violation does not include “True Threats,” first addressed in Watts v. United States (1969), or “Speech Integral to Criminal Conduct,” the leading case on that exception is Giboney v. Empire Storage & Ice Co. (1949).
COURIER POST AND YOUR EXPRESSIVE CONDUCT
If you read the Courier Post South Jersey local news columns by Jim Walsh, who usually writes about Camden’s law enforcement, you probably engaged in the constitutionally protected activity of expressing your opinions about articles by Jim Walsh to others by commenting directly, or Liking and Sharing the article for others to see.
But under Judge Solomon and Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Cogan’s interpretation, if you apply that same conduct (comment, Like/Share, or post images), then you may find yourself in jail for 6 months and charged with a crime. That might not sound bad to some overly sensitive people, but the problem becomes who will decide “what, when, and where” people can express how they feel?
LIKING AND SHARING POSTS ABOUT PETS IS STALKING
We the people need to know what law enforcement is up to! This is not a loophole in the law, and if Camden prosecutors and judges get away with this violation to our rights, then people can be arrested for:
The act of sharing your thoughts publicly (two or more times), and about how much you do or don’t like the neighbor and his dog’s endless barking, may trigger criminal charges for N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10(b) Stalking. Stalking is a felony carrying up to 5 years in prison and a $15,000 State fine.
And… if you are incarcerated, the Jail bills you as if you vacationed at Disney World.
And… this is also true! The animal or its owner can later sue you simply because a complaint was filed. That’s RIGHT! Essentially, you could become a revenue stream for the State and the alleged victim(s).
Because this IS a significant matter of public concern, it should be reported by Jim Walsh and the Courier Post South Jersey local news, but Courier Post editors like Jim Walsh have averted their eyes to what’s taking place in Camden.
A LAWSUIT FOR BEING FOUND NOT GUILTY
To be perfectly clear, expressing yourself online about a pet in a non-threatening way and absent ill-will or wrongful intent, is what Judge Lee A. Solomon and Tracy A. Cogan interpret as stalking, which can later result in a lawsuit for damages and attorney fees based on a 2011 Legislative Bill A4086. The Bill provided that a stalking victim can sue you…
whether or not you have been charged with or convicted of the alleged violation, and if compensatory damages are awarded, the victim may also be awarded punitive damages.
To put this all into perspective… According to the text, even if you are found not guilty you can still be sued and charged punitive damages, which are damages traditionally assessed to punish past misconduct and to deter future misconduct.
Does this make any sense? Then why hasn’t the Courier Post and Jim Walsh reported on this irrationality?
JUDGE LEE A. SOLOMON CHILLS THE STATE
Jim Walsh of the Courier Post should be uncovering the details of this case which is scheduled for trial on January 11, 2016 in the Superior Court Camden County. The case is the first of its kind in this State, and has the potential to create a black-plague of censorship targeting the act of posting online. The censorship will prohibit private and professional citizens, journalists, news reporters and bloggers from enjoying the world’s favorite pastime activity (i.e., Like, Share, Comment).
Several online advocates such as Matthew Chan of defiantly.net have taken a deep interest in this violation of the First Amendment. Through Matthew’s diligence, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) has taken notice of this New Jersey case, and begun the process of assisting in defending against this First Amendment atrocity.
And… with his eyes and ears on this case, and an open offer to assist, is top First Amendment scholar Prof. Eugene Volokh. Prof. Volokh is a Patriot who travels nationally, quashing governments’ attempts to infringe upon our First Amendment freedoms.
Prof. Eugene Volokh has contributed precedent setting law review guiding lower court in Constitutional Law.
UNTIL THE TRIAL, PARENTS BEWARE!
Parents, until Camden is re-educated in your rights… beware! You could see jail time for announcing online that your child was attacked by a pet, and if anyone re-posts the tragedy, all the posts can lead to criminal charges for causing the owner emotional distress manifested by your post.
Therefore, any opinion or news you have will be chilled for good reason; because the fear of being arrested and charged with a crime which would destroy your life, is far greater than your right to tell others your child was mauled by the neighbor’s dog.
What does it mean to “Chill” a population? Chilling effect is the discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction. So just to be safe, you shouldn’t Like or Share Jim Walsh or the Courier Post South Jersey local news articles. Remember, without any legislative guidance, Judge Lee A. Solomon and Tracy A. Cogan have redefined stalking to include the act of clicking the “Like” or “Share” button, that too would be a public expression to be scrutinized as criminal conduct.
Want to know more about the new Pet Stalking law? Continue reading New Jersey Supreme Court: Pets Are Family Members.
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