Memphis Police Sue to Out Anonymous Critic

From Commercial Appeal via hawkhead at biglawboard

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and the city of Memphis have filed a lawsuit to learn who operates a blog harshly critical of Godwin and his department.

The lawsuit asks AOL to produce all information related to the identity of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0, a blog popular with police officers that has been extremely critical of police leadership at 201 Poplar.

“In what could be a landmark case of privacy and the 1st Amendment,” the anonymous bloggers write on the site, “Godwin has illegally used his position and the City of Memphis as a ram to ruin the Constitution of the United States. (source)

There is a suggestion that this may have something to do with stopping investigation leaks, so I’ll reserve judgment for the moment. However, it certainly looks like an angry public figure stomping on the First Amendment. Comments from anyone who knows more about the case are invited.

3 Responses to Memphis Police Sue to Out Anonymous Critic

  1. Janet Blank says:

    Time to weigh two possible public interests against each other. The ability of the police to obtain information about potential leaks versus the 1st Amendment. Hard call at this point, as you point out. But, compare this to an illegal search, for example. There’s always a crime in an illegal search. The police must have found the drugs, let’s say, or we’d have nothing to talk about. So now do we get the drug pushers put away or shield them with the 4th Amend b/c an overly enthusiastic officer forgot to follow the Constitution? I’ve seen the dealers walk, and I don’t think it’s the wrong result even though I hate to see it happen. Upholding Constitutional rights isn’t meant to be easy.

  2. Exactly. Principles only mean something when you uphold them when it is inconvenient to do so.

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