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Apr 06, 2010

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Account Deleted

Looks like a great score by the reporter doing what reporters do.

Michele Forrest

That judge is cr-zazy. Somebody needed to know. But the way it came out is a little... squishy.

Steve Harrison

What I find interesting is the fact this anonymous long-term poster wasn't researched/targeted until she insulted a family member of a newspaper employee.

All the tripe about exposing a danger to the public is misdirecting, rationalizing fluff to paint an act of retribution as something more honorable and praise-worthy.

Michele Forrest

"...this anonymous long-term poster wasn't researched/targeted until she insulted a family member of a newspaper employee..."

That was kind of a ding-ding-ding, wasn't it?

Account Deleted

Steve: Maybe you have a different source for the story, but to me it looks like the family member comment contributed to the circumstantial evidence linking "lawmiss" to the Judge.

I'd have to say that a judge violating their "disinterested" status is an egregious offense and deserves to be outed. Not to mention that she was doing this during the course of the trial, which could influence a jury, since we know juries never really maintain their oath of neutrality either.

Sue

It wasn't the judge who wrote the emails. Her daughter admitted "borrowing" or perhaps hacking the account.

"The judge's 23-year-old daughter, Sydney Saffold, said Thursday that she posted the comments as "lawmiss" on cleveland.com., a Web site affiliated with The Plain Dealer."

Account Deleted

You don't buy that line do you Sue?

Some of the emails were sent from the judge's office in the judicial center?

Steve Harrison

Jeff, here's the chronology as Susan Goldberg related it:

"Our reporters are criticized on our website all the time. People say all kinds of things. We do try to make sure that they're not about hate speech or personal disparagement. But this one caught our Web editor’s attention because it talked about the mental state of one of our reporters’ relatives, and so it really had a degree of inside knowledge that was a little bit troubling. So he went and decided to figure out who lawmiss was...

Then he did two things that anybody can do. One was he ran the email address through a Google search and it came up to be Judge Saffold’s email. Then the other thing he did was he went to see all of the other comments that lawmiss had made on our site, so that’s when we discovered that lawmiss had made 80-plus comments."

This tends to support my claim that the insult was the "attention getter", followed by the evaluation of her (previous) comments. It was the insult that drove the editor to access her account (violate her privacy?) to get her e-mail address, and the other stuff followed.

Don't get me wrong, the other stuff is important. This judge has some serious issues, and probably should be removed from the bench. But consider how we would evaluate a judge who ruled that 4th Amendment concerns were irrelevant depending on the quality of the evidence seized.

Account Deleted

I can see your point Steve.

About the violation of privacy, I don't get that aspect. When I comment at News and Record, I've often gotten an email from the reporter whose name is on the story in reply to my comment. That leaves me to believe that some newspapers have their staffers manning/policing the comments. So it is not like they went through some complicated process of looking the info up.

Most content systems allow you to easily sort comments by any number of criteria, date, email, ip addy, screen name, etc.

I like that this judge got nailed. I like that the paper stood up for an important legal principle.

I've said before here that there is an important matter of precedent being set now regarding digital communication and the intersection of private email and public business.

Public officials need to know that they cannot separate themselves from their public duties just by hiding behind a private email account.

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