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What the Aaron Walker Ruling Means for Free Speech

Yesterday, Aaron Walker was taken into custody after a court hearing on Brett Kimberlin’s peace order against him. Initially, it was reported that Walker may have been arrested for a possible assault against Kimberlin, but as Patterico shows, it seems that the charges were directly related to his online blogging.

Essentially, the judge ruled that Aaron Walker was in violation of a peace order for blogging about his circumstances. It should be noted that Walker did not directly contacted Brett Kimberlin. It was reported that Kimberlin set up a Google alert that notified him when Walker posted his blog.

Judge C.J. Vaughey stated that Walker incited others to cause violence toward Kimberlin through his writing, although he never wrote about causing harm to Kimberlin, let alone ask others to so by proxy. His writings were his own, based on his experiences and opinions. His posts can be read at http://allergic2bull.blogspot.com/ , where he writes under the name “Aaron Worthing.” Reading through the blog, one would be very challenged to find any incitement of unlawfulness.

What the ruling essentially states is this: if anyone files a peace/restraining order against someone, whether temporary or not, they are barred from writing or opining about it. They are also responsible for others doing so, and others’ actions in response to that writing.

Where, then, is that line drawn? Are reporters or media outlets no longer able to report a story in fear that someone may read the article and decide to act unlawfully?

Such rulings could prohibit any reporter from writing about any legal case. All anyone would have to do is argue that they fear for their safety because they are the subject of a factual, non-libelous writing or reporting.

Fortunately for the American people, the US Constitution and Supreme Court have outlined our freedoms. I don’t expect such a judgment to be upheld upon appeal. Thankfully, there are others that are willing to step up and help fight for those freedoms.

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