Housing is a Civil Right

Housing is a Civil Right

Saturday, June 13, 2015

KingCast, Mortgage Movies and ACLU See Kent County DE Court Halt Discovery and Notify Cops In Free Press First Amendment Lawsuit.

25 June 2015 update:

Good Day Counselors,

I look forward to your clients' individual and collective responses.  I can see it now.

You:   "Well Mr. King the Court said it was okay to trivialize your concerns about what authority Defendants had."

Me:    "Yeah, well the Court also said that Rule 155 didn't apply to Trial Courts and we see that's yet another lie."

I know I am driving your clients crazy.  

But that's not my fault.  This was a routine shoot much like I have done hundreds of times in my career. Here's one from 5 years ago relating to the Marinova v. Boston Herald lawsuit where I helped Ms. Marinova obtain counsel to sue the living shit out of the Herald = $.9M settlement after Jury Trial.

I covered that case from start to finish, including the Herald's failed attempt to subpoena me. I often made their lawyers look stupid in the hallways of the Courthouse, but guess what?  

Courthouse hallways are public areas.  I took a lot of those videos down but I think I'll put them back up now, starting with the first day of trial and the failed subpoena.


Subpoena: John McEnroe makes a cameo!

Rick Jensen doesn't seem to get it but Bill Gunlocke and Nancy Willing do. Fortunately, most Courts these days get it too.  Pomykacz v. Borough of W. Wildwood, 438 F. Supp. 2d 504 (2006).

In 2006, a federal district court in New Jersey decided the case of Pomykacz v. Borough of W. Wildwood, 438 F. Supp. 2d 504 (2006)

·       Pomykacz was a self-described “citizen activist” who expressed concern that a suspected romance between the town’s mayor and a police officer were leading to nepotism, conflicts of interest and preferential treatment. These suspicions led Pomykacz to “monitor” the two, which included taking photographs. Eventually she was arrested on charges of stalking, though the charges were downgraded to harassment. Pomykacz ended up filing suit asserting, among other things, that she was arrested in violation of the First Amendment retaliation for her monitoring activities.

·       On the night of October 7, 2002, on her way to Wildwood, Pomykacz drove past the borough municipal building and observed Officer Ferentz working on renovations while she was on duty. Later that night, after Pomykacz had returned from Wildwood, she photographed Officer Ferentz in the police headquarters. 7 Another police officer and  [*508]  Mayor Fox were also present in the police station at the time. According toPomykacz, Mayor Fox came out of the building and began yelling at her. Pomykacz walked home without responding.

U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas noted,

Pomykacz has put forth sufficient evidence that she was a concerned citizen who at times spoke her mind to Borough  [*513]  officials and other citizens about her concerns regarding the official conduct of the police department and the mayor. Such speech is clearly protected by the First Amendment. 14 See Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218, 86 S. Ct. 1434, 16 L. Ed. 2d 484 (1966) HN15o to the description of this Headnote.("a major purpose of [the First] Amendment was to protect the free discussion of governmental affairs."); Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 484, 77 S. Ct. 1304, 1 L. Ed. 2d 1498 (1957) ("The protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.").

That’s all she wrote, folks.  Defendants have one case to Plaintiff’s 5 or 6.

I offered to settle this case on the cheap.  The choices that you and your clients made outlined their fate and the trajectory of this case, which will soon include that Declaratory Judgment Action vis a vis Rule 155.

Best regards,

Clearly I am dealing with the heavies.

14 June 2014 email to Delaware Supreme Court Chief Admin William Montgomery and all staff, as well as to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) a nonpartisan outfit that reached the same conclusion I did. But don't take my word for it, read it right here
Dear Sir et al:

We are in the midst of a Constitutional and Statutory spat in which certain government actors and their private, well-heeled friends are substantially limiting (read: eliminating) camera access by media in the Recorder of Deeds Office and in a Trial Court.

I am not here to ask you about the Recorder of Deeds issue as that will be litigated all the way to SCOTUS if necessary.

What I *AM* here to ask you about is the fact that the Supreme Court seems to have made it more than clear that cameras ought be allowed, specifically in the Trial Courts -- even as Commissioner Freud said no, and cut me off when I went on to explain. The Transcript will be ordered next week.

The language is unequivocal and is hosted on several websites, some owned by the State as well as one owned by the National Center for State Courts, an apparently non-partisan outfit that is copied on this email.

(2) The Bar-Bench-Media Conference, after considerable study, has submitted to the Supreme Court a thoughtful proposal that would permit expanded electronic media coverage of judicial proceedings in the trial courts of this State.

(4) The Court has evaluated the Conference’s proposal, and agrees that an experiment with electronic media coverage of certain Delaware trial court proceedings may lead to future policies that will enable our citizens to become better informed about the important public role served by our trial courts.

My thoughts are noted in the video link below and in my Motion to Reconsider as attached. Further, in the interests of public knowledge in the stated Spirit of the Rule, this email and your response is being vigorously posted online this coming week. Further, there will be a video with this email and all responses set to a voiceover.

I was an Assistant State Attorney and I have been involved in media and law for far too long to suffer the indignities that I am suffering in Delaware and having people post my picture up at guard desks and basically look at me as if I have three heads when I raise this issue. I will simply not stop until every stone has been upturned in my quest to shed light on what should be public processes.

Attorney Hurley over at the NCSC speaks fluid Russian, so I am certain that he -- and those of us of a certain age -- are all aware of the worth of glasnost and perestroika.  I am also certain that he favors the status quo over that of the former Stalinist empire, which seems to be the active model involved in Kent County, Delaware. That is their shame, Sir, not mine.

I look forward to a phone call from you tomorrow, 15 June 2015 on this crucial issue. Because either the NCSC and I are correct, or they have to modify their website accordingly. It's kind of like that line in Gorky Park when William Hurt says:

"They fell into a chasm.... the chasm between what is said.... and what is done."

I have no desire to inhabit any such chasm in the Free World.

"But if anyone can help us move forward as a Court and Judiciary, it is Bill Montgomery."
   - Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Wherefore, please advise.

Very Truly Yours,
You See Bill Gunlocke's Amicus Affidavit at left and all of your background links are here.
Today's Voiceover:
Forget about the fact that the Courthouse posted my picture in the days leading up to Thursday's evidentiary hearing that held that I am not even entitled to discover the policy or authority that the Defendants had to keep me from shooting video at the Kent County Registry of Deeds. That unlawfully prejudices my case because first amendment cases are won and lost in the nuances. We have to know what the purported policy is in order to flush out our arguments, it's simple.

Forget about the fact that Commissioner Andrea Freud wrongly denied me the right to run video of thursday's hearing and wrongly asserted that Rule 155 applied only to the Supreme Court. She didn't let me finish when I went on to say otherwise but there it is right there in front of your face, what part of TRIAL COURTS did she not get?

She and I both got our communications degrees in the 80's so she gets it and she knows what she's doing. She's being a gatekeeper in this instance and that's why I'm filing a Motion for Reconsideration to the Trial Court.

Delaware Way's Nancy Willing can't believe it, nor can Publisher/Editor Bill Gunlocke, who issued an Amicus Affidavit.

Well actually lets not forget about those things but let's instead focus on the fact that the small press are typically the most vigorous proponents of the fourth estate these days. How do I know that? Easy. I'm 50 and I've lived through, and fondly recall the days of literally cutting and pasting, and getting your hands and white pants dirty with newsprint. 

Working for Bill Gunlocke and the Cleveland Edition in 1987 was a transformative experience: I had seen the fall of my favorite Cleveland newspaper, the Cleveland Press, and without the Press there was scarce vigilance on the Fourth Estate Front.

The Plain Dealer certainly didn't fill the role, and The Scene was into music and art in a non-critical way.

I went on to Freelance and to write and edit for Ohio's NIP Magazine, the Ohio Call and Post, Berea Sun-Times, Cincinnati Entertainer and the Indianapolis star prior to law school at Case Western Reserve. After that I made it a point to get victory in several First Amendment criminal and civil trials.

I never dreamed that a government would disallow basic camera access for a reporter to appear at a public building to ask a question or two of a public official or to generate b-roll footage. But that is precisely what Betty Lou McKenna, Governor Markell and Defendant John Paradee are saying. And when you arrive in town, 3,000 miles away to fight the Paradee family you are up against a wall. These guys are well-financed and very well connected you better believe it. 

They stole an election already from La Mar Gunn after a total of four vote counts and they will steal my First Amendment and Free Press rights just as readily.

What is going on here is nothing more than an outright attack on the press.  The Defendants and their 4 lawyers and support staff are trying to say that I am not a member of the fourth  estate, but I have  submitted decisional law that says otherwise, as well as specific case law that holds that a pro se independent journal 

And of course their case law of Woods held in favor of a Statutory Right to run video, which parallels the Delaware Free Press Statute.  None of the Defendants mentioned the Free Press case during Thursday's hearing and they made scant mention of it during their pleadings.

And all of that is echoed by the Cirelli case that afforded Constittutional protection for a teacher to take video and stills at a school as long as it was a matter of public concern and she was not doing it at times or in a manner that were unduly dirsuptive.

Come on folks this is all really just common sense. 

Let's see if Judge Young agrees, because if he doesn't we're going up to SCOTUS on this. 

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