How Crystal Cox is helping to prove the strength of the First Amendment

If you read yesterday’s post, Judge rules, again, that blogger Crystal Cox is not a journalist. You know why? Because she ISN’T a journalist, it likely made you throw up in your mouth a bit.

But, in a way, this nutcase is helping to prove why, when confronted with bad speech, the best cure is more speech.

When she turned her attention to Kevin Padrick, there wasn’t much he could do about it except take the traditional road of filing a lawsuit. While that was successful, the damage was done — and seemingly couldn’t be undone. Other parties, who contacted me directly, told me of how they too had been victimized by her. Fortunately for her future victims, she decided to turn her attention to me. And fortunately for me, and her future victims, I have a strong belief in the superiority of using free speech to combat bad speech (without saying that other means are, per se, wrong). More fortunately, so do a lot of law bloggers.

You may have noticed last week how a lot of bloggers wrote nice things about me. Some of them are people I know. Some of them are complete strangers. All of them wrote what they thought was the truth, and they did so to show that “more speech” is the best cure for “bad speech.” They showed how Crystal Cox is completely impotent when her evil acts are confronted with more speech.

But, the campaign can’t be all about me. I’m just dandy. The campaign is now about exposing her so that she can’t engage in her extortion scheme against anyone else. Popehat is leading the charge, and naturally, the Legal Satyricon is next to Popehat, shields to shoulders. Sequence, Inc. is part of the solution too, by exposing the attacks on Kevin Padrick, and shining a light on Cox’s widespread extortion scheme, so is Philly Law Blog, and before any of the law blogger community jumped on the bandwagon, Salty Droid was out there all by himself, shining a little light — which is now accompanied by more and more lights.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

The cure for bad speech is more speech.

I believe, and I hope, that this story ends with those maxims being conclusively proven.

21 Responses to How Crystal Cox is helping to prove the strength of the First Amendment

  1. [...] Crystal Cox – Investigative Blogger? No, More Like A Scammer and Extortionist A Blogger Not Like Us Judge rules, again, that blogger Crystal Cox is not a journalist. You know why? Because she ISN’T a journalist. How Crystal Cox Is Helping To Prove The Strength of the First Amendment [...]

  2. [...] Legal Satyricon: How Crystal Cox is Proving the Strength of the First Amendment The Salty Droid: Crystal Cox :: iS nOt a BLOgGER Scott Greenfield: A Blogger Not Like Us Legal Satyricon: Judge rules, again, that blogger Crystal Cox is not a journalist. You know why? Because she ISN’T a journalist. Popehat: “Investigative Journalist” Crystal Cox’s Latest Target: An Enemy’s Three-Year-Old Daughter The Fraud Files: “Investigative Journalist” Crystal Cox Attacks Attorney Kevin D. Padrick Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  3. dan says:

    i’m curious. multiple extortion attempts across various state lines. muliple predicate acts. why is Cox not facing Federal RICO prosecution?

    • I’m awaiting for it to cross international lines, then a whole swath of new and wonderful things will be coming her way.

      Knowing only a little bit about the RICO act I was wondering the same thing, especially if extortion or the threat of extortion on a wide scale is, or can be, shown.towards multiple victims

    • John says:

      Well, RICO stands for “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act”. While Cox may be involved in a racket, I don’t think she meets the criteria for ‘organization’.

    • Ken says:

      RICO is tremendously complex and far more limited than people think. This is roughly like saying “multiple stomachaches and yet nobody has yet opened me up and taken out my appendix.”

    • andrews says:

      RICO is a funny thing. For criminal RICO, the state doesn’t really need racketeers, influence, corruption, or an organization. What they need is at least two bad acts plus an enthusiastic state’s attorney.

      It’s generally bad law, used mostly when SAs get their feelings hurt. It’s not really useful in cases like this because you don’t have the same flexibility as the SA.

  4. Christoph says:

    Hi Marc,

    I’m glad she’s being exposed, that your reputation is just groovy, and it was nice of you to give credit to one of my favorite bloggers, Droid, for covering this early … as he does a great job on the scammers, especially internet marketing and personal development scammers, beat.

    On Popehat’s post, you challenged us to read Hernandez’s ruling (done). I agree that his ruling, while I think it had some inartful language near the beginning implying that Hernandez wasn’t a journalist because she wasn’t part of a recognized media institution, went on to list 7 points, any one or a few of which could have elevated a mere blogger to journalist.

    Hernandez later wrote that’s what he was getting at and I agree.

    But John Kindley posits a question that I have no answer to. He thinks Cox deserves a new trial because she was held to a “no fault” standard, rather than a negligence or malice standard — and that this is bogus.

    In expounds on that in a subsequent comment, and then in yet another comment, He quotes Hernandez’ denial of a new trial:

    “In the end, the Supreme Court, in my opinion, has not squarely held that a private figure plaintiff who sues a non-media defendant regarding allegedly defamatory statements made on a private issue, is required to demonstrate negligence to establish liability. While the cases suggest that a majority of the justices, at one time or another, including the present, agree that the media enjoys no special First Amendment privilege, the cases do not show that a majority of the Court has agreed that if defendants in defamation cases are to be treated alike, what follows as a matter of course is a fault requirement for all plaintiffs in all defamation cases, regardless of the status of the plaintiff or the defendant. Without such agreement, the instructions given to the jury in this case were not plainly erroneous and the motion for new trial on this basis is denied.”

    And concludes:

    That is, no fault whatsoever on the part of Cox was required at trial for her to be found liable.

    I’m not sure if he’s understanding it correctly or if I am. If you have time, can you grace us with your thoughts, here or there, and if it’s here, maybe just post a quick reminder there so John knows to check?

    I am certain he wished for someone especially knowledgeable about the First Amendment to comment on his theory and that isn’t me.

    • He is understanding it incorrectly. People have a hard time reversing their views on things. When this story first broke, many (including me) had a reflexive reaction to it.

      What seems to have happened here is harmless error, if any error at all. If the jury didn’t have to find fault, and thus Cox lost, that’s where we are now, right?

      But, do you think, based on any of the facts found in this case, that she’d be exonerated if fault were at issue? The Ninth isn’t going to reverse Hernandez when the result would have no chance of changing the outcome. If it does, it may do so with some bad binding precedent.

      • Christoph says:

        No, I don’t think that. I think her conduct was so bad it would have met the test of any standard you could care to name.

        I’m surprised though, if it’s really the case, that the standard for libel could be less than negligence.

      • John Kindley says:

        I don’t think I’m understanding incorrectly the standard used at trial (i.e. no fault). I also don’t think I’m incorrect in saying that it is bogus to use such a standard in a defamation trial, and that if, as Judge Hernandez says, the SCOTUS hasn’t squarely addressed the question of whether such a standard is proper it would be a very good question for them (or the Ninth Circuit) to visit. Whether using the wrong standard in this case was harmless error is a separate question. I don’t know enough about the facts of the case, or what information if any Cox relied on to justify the statements that were found defamatory, to be certain that the result would have been the same if a better standard was used. But I’m inclined to think that using a strict liability standard when at least a negligence standard is constitutionally-required is almost automatically not harmless error.

        What bad binding precedent do you foresee as possible if the Ninth reverses Hernandez?

        • One concern I have: Hernandez did not draw a line saying “journalists are on this side, bloggers are on this side.” He didn’t even say “these things make you a journalist.” He merely said “these seven things indicate that you might be a journalist.”

          At the 9th, who knows what we’ll get. If the 9th draws some arbitrary line, in a place we don’t like it, we have few options to fix the damage. The 9th is more likely to draw a bad line when the facts are bad.

      • John Kindley says:

        On further reflection, I suppose you’re worried that the Ninth Circuit will be more inclined to squarely hold that negligence is not required in a defamation case than it otherwise might in a different case as a rationale for upholding the verdict, because it won’t want to reverse a verdict it believes will be the same even if a negligence standard is used. But you indicate you’re worried about bad binding precedent even if it reverses.

  5. Christoph says:

    “before any of the law blogger community jumped on the bandwagon, Salty Droid was out there all by himself, shining a little light”

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, Salty Droid actually is a lawyer, who, like yourself, trained at Georgetown University Law Center, so you may want to consider him an honorary member of the law blogger community, aside from being a consumer advocate. Here’s his bio, which is amusing (the links to “About Page” and “Character Specs” are worth clicking, IMHO, for entertainment value).

  6. Christoph says:

    Oh, I lied. Droid went to the George Washington University School of Law.

    Doh!

  7. [...] not litigation. Marc Randazza — whose own three-year-old daughter is a target here — is taking the more-speech road. It works. For example, today David Carr at the New York Times posted a piece about Cox and her [...]

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