Judge’s Sanction Banning Website Mention of Law Firm and Members Violated 1st Amendment
Posted Aug 8, 2011 10:25 AM CST
By Martha Neil
A California judge had the power to ban a San Diego woman from continuing to make statements online that had been found to be false and defamatory.
But the trial court went too far, an appellate panel found, when it banned Maura Larkins, as a sanction for continued violation of the rules, from making any mention whatsoever of Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, or the firm's members, reports the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.
In addition to being an unconstitutional prior restraint in violation of the first amendment, the Internet speech ban was not the least restrictive means of achieving compliance with the trial court's ruling, held the 4th District Court of Appeal in its Friday ruling.