ABA Journal



Anonymous Blog Comments Snag Another US Prosecutor; Suit Cited ‘Superfluous Spacing’ as Clue

Nov 12, 2012, 11:30 am CST


Spacing, the final frontier. Mann, eweman, Scoob! (At least they're not Letten her go).

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 12, 1:16 pm CST

She should have run all of her online prose through The Dialectizer, to convert her prose into Redneck, Jive, Cockney, Elmer Fudd, ... before posting.

By Tyrone on 2012 11 12, 1:57 pm CST

There is a built in "To Serve Man[n[" joke in this.

By Wallach on 2012 11 12, 6:27 pm CST

Not sure how I feel or what to think about this story. Seems like a lot of detail was missing.

First question (of many): Are Federal Prosecutors prohibited from expressing their opinions in public? I am not familiar with their ethical constraints, but the story certainly seems to involve First Amendment issues.

By JimfromBham on 2012 11 16, 10:51 am CST

Hello, EWEMAN.

By Train on 2012 11 16, 1:37 pm CST

No attorney should run to the press to express opinions about the merits of the cases they or their offices are handling, or about the folks involved in those cases.

Anonymous comments don't strike me as a big deal. After all, it apparently took a lot of digging to uncover the identies of the commenters. Nevertheless, I can understand the U.S. Attorney's response. It could be difficult to do that job unless one remained absolutely above reproach.

By Patrick on 2012 11 16, 1:43 pm CST

To err is eweman.

By Oliver Klozzoff on 2012 11 16, 2:25 pm CST


By Patrick on 2012 11 16, 2:26 pm CST

Thanks Tyrone, the Dialectizer is now my favorite time wasting web site.

By LexMike on 2012 11 16, 2:56 pm CST

I have to work "fender lizard" into my repertoire of phrases.

By Random Guy on 2012 11 16, 3:20 pm CST

#10--Ewe bet! Another opportunity to bolster the lexicon...

By Grayghost on 2012 11 16, 3:27 pm CST

I suppose all of those together may have been sufficient to identify her but I hardly think that the failure to put spaces between one's periods when making an ellipse is particularly unique as that is the correct way to do so. MS Word converts mine to a separate single ellipse symbol. Admittedly numerous folks do it incorrectly but that hardly means that doing it properly is a unique pattern.

By Rob on 2012 11 16, 3:31 pm CST

Hung by use of alliteration? I like a lot of alliteration (or at least a little), which is a tool of writing commonly taught in persuasive and other writing courses. The libel case sounds like a lot of speculation about things that are neither DNA nor fingerprints, but there should be pretty definitive proof one way or the other, in computer bits and bites. Lions, tigers and bears, oh no, and now "critical anonymous online posts," no one who comments here has ever heard of that. It will take some subpoenas, and bouts over objections to them, but the source of "anonymous" posts are fairly easy to track down in litigation. Posting prosecutors beware.

By Realist on 2012 11 16, 3:57 pm CST

Of Eweman Bondage.

By R on 2012 11 16, 5:25 pm CST

To err is eweman, indeed! She's lucky she didn't get fired. Forgiveness is a bit too much to ask for, but a demotion seems fine.
If you're going to talk about cases when you shouldn't, make sure your boss doesn't find out. In other words, a Letten learning is a dangerous thing.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread -- I think Alexander Pope must have been talking about anonymous comment boards!

By K. on 2012 11 16, 8:12 pm CST

LOL :)

By Anna Gray on 2012 11 16, 10:51 pm CST

@ #12, Rob:
I am not sure if you are an attorney or what style guide you use in your profession but I have always learned that you use spaces between ellipses. I just did a quick on line search and found on
"In legal writing in the United States, Rule 5.3 in the Bluebook citation guide governs the use of ellipsis and requires a space before the first dot and between the two subsequent dots."
To me, the lack of spaces would be a dead give away if I were familiar with her writing.

By Michelle on 2012 11 16, 11:26 pm CST

If an ellipsis is at the end of a sentence, is it proper to put a fourth period immediately following the ellipsis?

By Been There, Done That! on 2012 11 17, 12:13 am CST

My recollection is that you never use a period after an ellipse. It is three dots separated by a space like this . . .

By Michelle on 2012 11 17, 12:29 am CST

@18, yes, there is a fourth period if the ellipsis ends a sentence.
If the ellipsis is only a pause and the sentence resume after a pause . . . like this, then it's a three-period ellipsis.
Will we ever have cause to use the word ellipsis so many times in one paragraph again? Hmmm. I wonder . . . .

By K. on 2012 11 17, 12:41 am CST

Fred got a case of the Heebe Jeebies.

By another andy the lawyer on 2012 11 17, 2:26 am CST

Is ellipsis spelled the same for both the solar and the lunar varieties?

By casefiler on 2012 11 17, 4:40 am CST

Well, defamation is defamation, but it depends on what was said, which isn't revealed to us. This is a website primarily for lawyers, but yeah, let's not mention the first thing every lawyer's mind would go to if this prosecutor came into our office asking, "Can they do this to me?"

By Adamius on 2012 11 17, 9:23 am CST

I like the "Seinfeld" reference at #5. :-)

By emjaycee on 2012 11 17, 1:52 pm CST

@17 - The allegedly defamatory comments are featured prominently in the complaint, which is linked in the article.

By jgiven on 2012 11 19, 12:43 am CST

The Ewemanity! Oh, the Ewemanity!

By porkut on 2012 11 19, 1:55 pm CST

#26, You beat me to it...!

By SHEEPDOG7 on 2012 11 21, 2:13 am CST

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