Oklahoma Attorney Stephen Jones Is A Contemptible Scumbag
[Posted by Justin Levine – not Patterico]
Anyone who engages in legal threats against people without any cause whatsoever is a contemptible scumbag in my book.
Proof regarding Stephen Jones is here.
Would Jones be pulling this crap against the NY Times? No. He tried his thug tactics because he figured it was a hapless blogger who would cave.
By the way Mr. Jones – the identity of one of the Congressional pages who was having cybersex with Congressman Mark Foley happens to be your client. So please plan your additional legal threats accordingly…
[Posted by Justin Levine]
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I hope Justin doesn’t get upset with me here, but I’m redacting the name. Let me be clear: I am not frightened by the prospect of Stephen Jones suing me. I just don’t want to be one of the sites publishing the former page’s name. Granted, it’s already so widely publicized that publishing it here won’t make a difference. But it’s just not something I want to do.
Is there a tiny legitimate point to be made about the person’s age? Sure, I suppose there might be. But the former page in question didn’t ask to have his identity exposed. I don’t see that he engaged in any contemptible behavior that should expose him to this. It was an inadvertent slip-up, not by the former page, but by ABC, that caused this. I don’t want to pile on.
I’m seeing Justin today, so if he thinks I’m wrong about this, he can let me have it in person.
As for Jones’s letter, it seems heavy-handed, but I don’t have strong feelings about it. [I have thought about it more. See UPDATE x3 below.]
UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: I don’t mean to imply that Justin has done anything wrong by publishing the guy’s name or saying that he is the one. It seems to me that the evidence is strong that it’s him, and the name is certainly “out there.” Justin published the name, not to make a point about Foley, but to make a point to Jones. I see his point and think it’s a legitimate one.
UPDATE x3 BY PATTERICO: On further reflection, I agree with Justin that the Jones letter is contemptible. Whatever you may think of the ethics of disclosing the former page’s name — and I have said I disagree with that action — I can’t think of any legal theory by which Jones could take legal action against the blogger in question. Jones’s letter is simple thuggery.
UPDATE x4 BY PATTERICO: I have figured out a way to tell Jones what I think about him without dragging the former page’s name into it. Instead of [redacted by Patterico] above, I have altered the bracketed phrase so it reads “your client” — so that the whole sentence reads:
By the way Mr. Jones – the identity of one of the Congressional pages who was having cybersex with Congressman Mark Foley happens to be your client.
I am completely comfortable with that. The guy in the IMs is your client, Mr. Jones. I say that without your permission or his, because I have a good faith basis to believe it’s true. You want to sue me, then bring it on, pal.
Hmmmm…. I agree with Patterico 60-75% of the time, the latter figure usually after discussing it with him or following his debates at some length.
Yet here I am and I have to take issue with your point… while I agree with your sentiment and appreciate your stance on standing up to his attempts at intimidation.
Here’s the problem I have with your position: Mr. Jones is Mr. Edmund’s lawyer. His client obviously never chose to be publicly exposed on this and this only happenned (at this time) because of a stupid ABC human/tech error.
I don’t see how Mr. Jones is doing anything wrong if he is threatening legal action over people who publish his client’s identity. And he didn’t pick Wild Bill, whom I like and support in revealing Mr. Edmund’s name, out of a hat.
He after all is the one who researched and brought ABC’s boneheaded mistake to the world’s attention.
I think tactically this is an error on Jones’ part and can’t work. I think it may be a waste of his client’s money.
But… if this is a goal of his client and he asked his lawyer to see what could be done to keep his name out of the press and the lawyer wrote up a letter to that effect… I’m supposed to hold this against his lawyer? I can’t make that stretch.
The lawyer is trying to do his client’s bidding… attack Mr. Edmund if you like, but how it’s wrong for a lawyer to write a letter in an attempt to accomplish one of his client’s goals escapes me.Christoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 6:19 am
Stephen Jones: Threat Or Menace?…
The Big Lizards Let the Cat Out of the Barn Award for this week goes to attorney Stephen Jones, of Jones, Otjen [Otjen?], Davis, Nixon [!], and Juhl in Enid, Oklahoma, who sent a nasty lawyer letter to some blogger……Big Lizards (5ca406) — 10/7/2006 @ 6:24 am
Christoph, you are being too kind to Mr. Jones. Isn’t this the most pussy-ass “cease and desist” you’ve ever seen? “My client wants you to stop talking about him you mean man, you, and if you don’t we’re gonna see whether you’re doing something wrong.” Whenever you see “possible liability”, you know the lawyer has no case. When you see advice to consult an attorney you know he’s doubly bluffing — raising the specter of legal costs regardless of the outcome.
A real cease and desist is: 1. You are doing this. 2. This law says you should not. 3. Stop or I’ll sue.
In my state, BTW, it is disciplinable to threaten criminal penalties in a civil dispute as Jones does here. Although he uses pretty weaselly language, the threat is there. If a lawyer thinks his client is the victim of a crime, he’s supposed to go to the police or the prosecutor.
Off topic: I thought Jones’s defense of Timothy McVeigh sucked.nk (41da82) — 10/7/2006 @ 6:48 am
Sorry to see Patterico’s site becoming part of the rightwing slime machine that is trying to blame the victim here.
No, that blogger and Justin Levine are the scumbags.
Creepy Congressman abuses his position of authority for the better part of a decade, hitting on underage pages. The Congressman’s party
ABC News happens to inadvertently release one page’s identity.
Then, predicatably, political supporters of the Congressman’s party try to smear and personally destroy the victim by blaming him for the entire affair.
The victim’s lawyer, not surprisingly, decides to fight back.
Blame the victim. Blame the media. Blame the Democrats. And y’all call yourself the party of personal responsibility.Geek, Esq. (8297ac) — 10/7/2006 @ 7:23 am
nk, it’s worth a try.
I agree it’s pussy-ass. I believe my exact words were:
It had a very low probability of success with someone like Wild Bill.
But… I know two very influential Canadian bloggers, for example (both Liberals its true), who are very risk adverse, particularly the younger one.
He practically has a notice on his blog that if you threaten to sue him he’ll back off.
Long shot? Yep. But if it’s important to his client, was it worth the effort to write a letter if only as a bluff?
Yeah, sure, why not. Bluff was called, didn’t work, shit happens.
I’m not sure this rises to the level of contemptible misconduct or places any blame on the lawyer… it looks like he made a lame attempt to accomplish the wishes of his client.
He doesn’t represent Wild Bill; he only represents Mr. Edmund.Christoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 7:27 am
Justin, I’m redacting the name from the post. I just don’t want to be one of the sites naming the guy — not that it matters, as it’s already out there.
You can scream at me tonight if you think I’m wrong. It’s hard to articulate why I feel this way, but I do. It’s a gut thing.Patterico (de0616) — 10/7/2006 @ 10:14 am
No problemo Patterico. Your call dude.Justin Levine (3fb363) — 10/7/2006 @ 10:18 am
No, that blogger and Justin Levine are the scumbags.
No, Justin is not a scumbag, Geek. He is making a point about Jones, not Foley.
At this point the name is out there, so to include it as a “f— you” to Stephen Jones, on a site Think Progress calls “obscure,” is hardly going to add to the former page’s notoriety.
I’m leaving it redacted, but I think it’s uncalled for to say Justin is a scumbag. He is not.Patterico (de0616) — 10/7/2006 @ 10:19 am
The topic headline is redundant and too limited vis a vis Oklahoma pettifoggers.Gbear (c22f1c) — 10/7/2006 @ 10:46 am
O. K., I went to the link, and I read the letter that Stephen Jones wrote to Wild Bill. It was ordinary in tone, and minimal in content. Where is the beef?
This story is rapidly becoming a gay story, not a Republican story. Many times I have read that sexual abuse of male minors is a gay story; it is still a gay story even though the lad in question was not a minor at the time of the gayphone encounter.
Geek, Esq., you have to get a better grip on the facts before you turn on your slime machine.RJN (e12f22) — 10/7/2006 @ 11:23 am
What a way to let ‘wild bill’ off the hook.
[You miss the point 100 percent. I’m not “letting him off the hook” but pointing out that it wasn’t the former page’s fault that his name got out there. The slip was by ABC and not the page. If the page had put his screen name on the Internet, this would be a closer call. Since he didn’t, and it was someone else’s slip-up, he doesn’t deserve to have his name dragged into this. That is my argument, and anyone with half a brain who actually reads my updates can see it is an implicit *criticism* of Wild Bill, not a defense of him. — P]actus (10527e) — 10/7/2006 @ 11:35 am
What, pray tell actus, is he “on the hook” for? Divulging the identity? OH NOES!
[I disagree. I think the identity should not have been revealed. — P]Angry Clam (132353) — 10/7/2006 @ 11:54 am
Liberals are this way at times they try and silence all those who dont agree with their radical ideaskrazy kagu (fb44c4) — 10/7/2006 @ 11:54 am
Krazy, you so….crazy.mmm...lemonheads (a960c9) — 10/7/2006 @ 11:59 am
Don’t ever change. I love you, man.
He had a role in this too. He’s sending messages with his screen name on them to someone else. A screen name that he (later? earlier? doesn’t matter) tied to him.
He’s an intentional cause. ABC slipped up, but wild bill acted purposefully.actus (10527e) — 10/7/2006 @ 12:06 pm
Again, I take issue with your conclusion, but completely appreciate the place you are coming from.
You believe they are wrong to publish Mr. Edmund’s (18 at the time — yes that matters and I’ll toucn on it in a moment) name.
I can’t help but sympathize with that. If I had engaged in a salacious instant message conversation with someone, particularly someone of the opposite sex (since I am heterosexual, but freely acknowledge and in the same vein and seriousness à la Hot Air’s tricking of Denis Miller that if I had to it would be Tom Petty because while I’m not physically attracted to him, I like every single piece of music he’s ever placed out, can’t say that about anyone else, and admire his art to bits) I wouldn’t want the world to know because a news organization inadvertently revealed it.
So sure, I might ask my lawyer to see if he could get the people starting to write about me to pull back.
But, as an 18-year old man, even at that age I have always firmly believed in an “age or majority” when you truly become an equal member of society and enjoy all the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship.
Philosophically, I’ve always opposed a hodge podge of ages (from my jurisdiction’s laws: can’t smoke a cigarette, drink a beer, sign a contract or vote provincially ’til you’re 19, but can join the army without parent’s permission when you’re 18 and invade a foreign country… these type of discrepancies appear ludicrous).
So I was always eager to assume more responsibility and rights at the youngest possible age growing up. I would skip school to study history at the library (really) and would read about 12-18 year old midshipmen assuming responsibility and having martial adventure the world over. I always bought into the idea that people should be equal citizens sooner not later.
Moving on, I would want my name out of the media, but even at that age I would have understood that freedom of the press is a core right in our society, a right people died for and that I’d be willing to fight for, and I wouldn’t believe that, as an adult man, I have the right not to be reported on and named in a newsworthy story.
I still am rather private when it comes to the media if only because I don’t like them very much. I don’t want them bandying my name about. Yet they have every right to if I engage in a quasi-sexual relationship that threatens to derail a party from parliamentary power: That’s newsworthy.
Here again, I’m very sympathetic to your position.
I don’t like the media much, as I’ve expressed above, and I have no great desire to publish anyone’s lawful private sexual behaviour without (or with) their consent.
If I were in Wild Bill’s position where I realized ABC made this mistake, I would have strongly considered contacting ABC privately and pointing out their error to them so they could quietly remove the Internet screen name and then sat on the story unless it broke publicly.
This is exactly what I would have done if the individual involved was legally a minor child. I would have written more on the story, but without the child’s name.
But… it was in Wild Bill’s and my eyes a legitimate story about a possible political dirty trick plot by radical leftist elements to throw the election — again like the forged Bush National Guard memos 2-years ago — during a time of war with potentially Western Civilization hanging in the balance and definitely thousands of lives at stake.
And the person involved is legally an adult.
In the circumstance as it exists, I support Wild Bill’s coming forth with the story and I believe that he went through the same mental calculus before he decided to publish.Christoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 1:57 pm
* particularly [with] someone of the same sex
… gee, let’s hope that wasn’t a Freudian slip
:-pChristoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 2:01 pm
ABC made a mistake and let the pages name slip on one of it’s documents but nobody in the general public would ever have known this guys name without the hard work of the right wing blogs Drudge, Instapundit and the un-named site that did the work and first published the guys name AND PICTURE. Once again we see an inability to put the blame where it really belongs. With the people who purposfully went after the page with the intent to minimize the scandal.
Patterico is right that the page does not deserve to have his name dragged into it but he has no criticism for those that did just that. I am sure if Glenn Greenwald had done what Justin Levine just did we would not hear the end of how unethical Greenwald is.Paul (76fbe9) — 10/7/2006 @ 2:22 pm
Paul, once again you’re dishonest, lazy or both.
In rebuttal to comment #11, Patterico said:
I quoted this exact same passage from Patterico in comment #16 giving you a second opportunity to read it.Christoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 2:42 pm
[Breaking this into parts to get it past the spam filter; Part 1]
Justin, I’m reading an article today quoting Stephen Jones and in this article at least, he comes off as fair and reasonable.Christoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 3:38 pm
[Part 2: had to mung the “link” to get it past the spam filter]
cnnChristoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 3:40 pm
I’ll reiterate my point above that a lawyer has a duty to help his client accomplish his goals through legal means and the same lawyer has no obligation to represent the interests of people who are violating his client’s wishes.
I say this is a supporter of Wild Bill. I believe even he understands.
This isn’t easy on anyone and certainly isn’t on Mr. Edmund. It would be absurd for him to jump up in defense of his lawyer yet I just don’t see where you make the leap that his lawyer testing the waters to see if an adversary of his client would quickly fold is unethical and makes the lawyer a scumbag.
Commentator #4’s best argument that you are a scumbag would be that you attacked Jones with such vitriolic language so quickly based on so little. (As noted above, I don’t agree with his conclusion about you, but that would have been a stronger argument.)
Would Jones have tried this against the legal department of the NYT? No, probably not, but what does that matter? A lawyer’s job is to choose the best tactics he can against the adversary he has, not hold to some blogger’s theoretical opinion of fair play treating major conglomerate opponents the same as individual person opponents.
Do you really believe a lawyer has some sort of Queensbury rules requirement to handle all people and organizations acting against their client’s interests identically regardless of their sophistication, monetary resources, and tolerance for litigation? Does that make any sense to you?
Writing a letter to try to try to advance your side’s position isn’t unfair. Don’t you agree?Christoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 3:41 pm
Is Edmunds really a victim? He’s a legal adult, he engaged willingly and eagerly with Foley in hot chat over a non-secure line and I’m supposed to be calling for his “rights” to be protected? He doesn’t have any “right” of pivacy in this case. He’s no poor little innocent boy and he wasn’t at the time of the IM’s either.
Some of you seem to be unable to grasp the “big picture”.Sarah Mcarthur (a5d893) — 10/7/2006 @ 4:13 pm
[…] Patterico’s Pontifications […]Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » Foleygate, Part….Oh Who Cares. (986d71) — 10/7/2006 @ 5:20 pm
With the people who purposfully went after the page with the intent to minimize the scandal.
Since when is finding out the truth minimizing a scandal? NOBODY, I REPEAT, NOBODY, has diminished what Foley did. Apparently you don’t believe people can walk and chew gun at the same time.
If there was no stench of setup on the left originally(ex. Mike Rogers BlogActive posting last year suggesting an october suprise regarding Foley), there would be no scandal hunt looking to the conspirators.
The left, in its zeal, foolishly telegraphed this punch and left a breadcrumb trail that begged to be followed.Purple Avenger (5c5dc7) — 10/7/2006 @ 9:24 pm
Gosh, Sarah, does decency still have a place in our society? Even though the kid was of legal age (so we are told), he is still a victim of sorts.RJN (e12f22) — 10/7/2006 @ 10:10 pm
Why on earth not? Because he didn’t want it revealed? If that were the standard, Foley’s name shouldn’t have been revealed, either.Xrlq (58820f) — 10/7/2006 @ 10:17 pm
“contemptible scumbag” may be an overstatement, i’m not sure because this is my first exposure to him, but i would certainly characterize his letter as lame. there didn’t seem to be any hammer in there, more like a wish letter than a demand letter.assistant devil's advocate (30f372) — 10/7/2006 @ 10:51 pm
i didn’t know or care about the page’s name until i clicked on the link. i don’t believe jordan almond is any victim, in the im’s i saw he sounded as gay as the congressman. when foley asked him to take it out and measure it and he replied “7&1/2”, i was sure he had put the little perpendicular thing on the tip of the tape measure into his anus and was measuring from there.
this isn’t about gays or congressman foley. this is about wiping out the republican leadership in the house. let’s git-r-done!
You’re assuming he measured from his anus because this is what it would take for you to measure in at 7.5?Christoph (9824e6) — 10/7/2006 @ 11:08 pm
@christoph:assistant devil's advocate (30f372) — 10/8/2006 @ 12:09 am
i can tell you’re interested, but i refuse to accommodate a request to measure it with your tongue.
Serious thought for both Justin and Patterico: Clarice Feldman at the American Thinker has a great post here:
(again, munged “link” to get past the spam filter — you must reconstruct it)
but she places her finger on the most important part of Stephen Jones’ letter…
This is item 6 in her long post and you should read the whole thing.
She’s one smart cookie. We’re batting at flies† here and she’s charging straight to the heart of the matter.
† Not intended as a swipe at the size of assistant devil’s advocate’s “manhood”Christoph (9824e6) — 10/8/2006 @ 1:21 am
Since the page was 18, I really don’t see why his name should be protected. He’s a minor. He had to know that once the story broke, his identity would soon be revealed. Sure, he was young and impressionable and didn’t know what he was doing, but I don’t remember that excuse being good enough for Dr. Laura or Vanessa Williams posing for nude photos. It just seems to me that if one puts parts of oneself out in the public (whether it is actual parts of oneself or just words & such through IMs) that one should expect to deal with the consequences. That this guy’s name and info would become public was predictable. And since there are plenty of political types who want to spread the Mark Foley stench to smear all House leadership in an attempt to give Democrats the House in November, I say it is justified to reveal that the page involved was no innocent youth.sharon (dfeb10) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:27 am
Oops. “He’s a minor” should read “he’s NOT a minor.”sharon (dfeb10) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:27 am
I don’t think that what drudge and instapundit did can be called ‘hard work.’actus (10527e) — 10/8/2006 @ 8:26 am
This is one of the best discussions on the Mark Foley case I have come across. It seems many people here get what it was I was trying to do and say with my post. I identified Jordan Edmunds name because their are so many questions that need to be answered and the only way I believed the truth would come out is if we all knew who it was we were talking about. It is possible that Mr. Edmund was 17 when the first IM took place but the majority of the IMs happened when he was 18. He is 21 now. Some of the main questions that need to be answered is are the IMs real, Have they been altered to make them appear worse or to make Mr. Edmund seem to be a minor, why if Mr. Edmund felt he was being victimized did he continue to IM Mark Foley, could this have been a prank, why did ABC NEWS not include the dates the IMS took place, If the IMs are real who copied them from the original IMs, why if Mr. Edmund was a victim did he not turn these IMs over to the FBI (or did he.)
There are so many more questions that need to be answered. I published my post identifying Mr. Edmund because I wanted the truth to come out so that we had a chance to have these questions answered. I might be called to testify in front of the House Ethics Committee. If I did something wrong in identifying someone I personally believe was not a victim then I am sure I will be brought up on charges. Regardless of what you think of me I hoped that people wanted to know the truth and I believe that I am one of the reasons that the real story is slowly coming out. Someday I hope most people will understand that what I did was the right thing to do. We all claim that we are sick of the media not telling the truth, well I told the truth and many people are refusing to link to my site because they need to have a victim in this case. Mr. Edmund is only an alleged victim, when the investigation is complete only then will it be proven that he is a victim or he is not a victim. Thanks to everyone that supports me.Wild Bill (b7f248) — 10/8/2006 @ 9:45 am
I think its quite certain, at least as far as the IM where he says he is turning 18 in the future is concerned.actus (10527e) — 10/8/2006 @ 9:49 am
The guy recorded his conversation with a congressman and gave it out to others. It ended up on national media and the congressman had to resign. WHY does he deserve privacy? He made himself a public figure.Mark (a53e27) — 10/8/2006 @ 10:43 am
I’ve been trying to find out where the conversation came from. Are you sure it was him? It could have been someone wiht access to the congressman’s computer or the kid’s computer. AFAIK it hasn’t been reported where it came from. I’d love to have a source if you know where they came from.actus (10527e) — 10/8/2006 @ 10:51 am
Don’t “Stephen Jones”. If there is legal action against Wild Bill, Edmund Jordan can be compelled, under penalties of perjury, to admit or deny that he was the co-respondent in the IMs. (And I know the difference between “co-respondent” and “correspondent”.) An “activist” judge might even compel Stephen Jones to testify whether his client told him so under the crime/fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. Mr. Jones’s “Without any foundation or legal permission, you are stating that our client is the person associated with the IMs. Neither ABC News nor Brian Ross have been error free in their reporting in the past. You should not assume that they are correct now. Like all individuals and institutions, they occasionally make mistakes.” out-Greenwalds Greenwald in its disingenuousness.
Wild Bill #35,
It looks to me like you may be getting “Linda Tripped”. You injected yourself into a high stakes power struggle between people who have the power to declare a nuclear world war. Get yourself the best lawyer you can afford.nk (57e995) — 10/8/2006 @ 2:14 pm
Mark, I don’t think we know that “the guy” recorded a message. If these are IMs there must be ways to fake, or alter them.
I just saw that Patterico now concludes that Jone’s letter was “contemtible”??????? How? An advocate advocates. By his standard he himself would be contemtible squared.
Has Patterico, an ADA, ever advocated against a later proven innocent man? How contemtible.
[No, I have not, and it is despicable for you to assume I have. Next time, why don’t you ask before assuming and making an ass of yourself? And I’m a DDA, not an “ADA.” And “contemtible” is not a word. Other than that, excellent comment. [Rolls eyes] — Patterico]RJN (e12f22) — 10/8/2006 @ 2:20 pm
What on earth are you talking about? First of all, a lawyer does NOT do what his client wants. He does what, in his independent judgment which is independent even from his client’s wishes, is to the best interests of his client. Second, he represents his client zealously within the bounds of the law and it is demanded that he know the law. Third, he is required to represent his client competently (in my state he is held to the highest standard of competence and professionalism — not the “community standards” BS for some other professions). As far as I can see, Mr. Jones’s letter failed on all three criteria.nk (947b03) — 10/8/2006 @ 2:38 pm
I’m not so sure. But what I am trying to find out is who the transcripts came from, not who actually was in the conversation.
How would that argument go?actus (10527e) — 10/8/2006 @ 2:43 pm
Who says the client was dictating Mr. Jones’s letter? And, by the way, what law does Mr. Jones break by writing and sending that letter?
Break it down for us.RJN (e12f22) — 10/8/2006 @ 2:47 pm
I think the young man in question did us all a public service. I just wish he had given the Republicans some notice of what might be coming down the pike. Of course, he may not have realized that the IMs had been passed on to the Democrats and the media until they showed up on ABC, but he really ought to come out and own up to what he did and explain what he knows about how they got into into the foodchain.
I’d tell Stephen Jones to sue ABC and whoever gave them these emails for invasion of his client’s privacy, and leave Bill Kerr alone. 1. He didn’t do anything that anybody else couldn’t have by using sources on the internet, whereas ABC and its sources didn’t properly protect the kid. Besides, ABC and the Democrats have deep pockets.
Maybe ABC needs to run a crawl during future stories like this, “Kids, don’t try this at home! Some sleazy reporter could get access to it and then let your identity slip out.”
My son was a page but nothing like this ever happened. He says he heard of past scandals, but didn’t hear of anything else, although I’m sure that Foley was in the House at the time, but probably didn’t have any power.
I’m rethinking my opposition to term limits, but I think that would prevent real talent from getting the experience to be effective.
As for Hastert being forced out, you know that job has to be a lot like tryiing to herd cats. It’s not like he has that much power over individual members. Also, what would it do to collegiality if he were running secret investigations of Members or open investigations on the basis of a Member’s homosexuality? Talk about making his life more of a hassle.AST (63d041) — 10/8/2006 @ 2:53 pm
I think part of the problem the republicans are having these days is that there was notice.actus (10527e) — 10/8/2006 @ 3:03 pm
re: Clarice Feldman link.
If Bill had named the wrong guy, why didn’t Jones say so? I would have, and it would have made Bill post that denial as well. I agree with the old saw that a secret is only a secret until you tell someone.
This country has a privacy/anonymity fetish. We all want celebrity but not to give up our anonymity. You can’t have a open society where people don’t have to carry identification, as the current wave of ID thefts illustrate. If you do something stupid, you deserve the consequences.AST (63d041) — 10/8/2006 @ 3:23 pm
If you tell me that X told the truth about you but nonetheless you want me to sue him for libel you are asking me to commit a fraud and if I do it I am no longer a lawyer but a co-conspirator to a fraud against him and on the court. OK? (Precedent: The John Gotti, Sr. case. Gotti’s lawyer was put on the government’s witness list and disqualified as a lawyer on the representation that he advised Gotti as to how to conduct illegal activities. Say what you want about Rudi Giuliani, he is a good lawyer.)
“Who says the client was dictating Mr. Jones’s letter?”
I give up. Who? I sure didn’t. [I have to admit, actus, your style is the only appropriate one at times.]
“And, by the way, what law does Mr. Jones break by writing and sending that letter?”
Same answer as above. And read my comment #41 again.nk (06f5d0) — 10/8/2006 @ 3:32 pm
What if I just want you to tell him we’re thinking about suing him for libel?actus (10527e) — 10/8/2006 @ 3:36 pm
My world is in turmoil. First, I have to spell check everthing. Second, I have to learn to read intent instead of writing. This is what you wrote in post #41:
“Second, he represents his client zealously within the bounds of the law and it is demanded that he know the law.”
“As far as I can see, Mr. Jones’s letter failed on all three criteria.”RJN (e12f22) — 10/8/2006 @ 4:16 pm
Patterico: Sorry about the demotion.
I am amazed that, as a prosecutor, you have never lost a case or failed to get an indictment from a grand jury. Good work. Please excuse the transgression.RJN (e12f22) — 10/8/2006 @ 4:22 pm
I think my only error here was being naive that I could bring up the issue of free speech rights of bloggers without getting caught up in the other issue of Washignton politics. I am a passionate defender of bloggers’ free speech rights. Period. It does not matter what their politics or motivations are. I am near absolutist on this issue.
I find the evidence that Wild Bill posted truthful information to be overwhelming. If people need permission from either attorneys or the subjects that they write about before posting items about them, then that will be the end of the blogosphere as we know it and we will go back to the monopoly of the traditional media.
That was my only point. You shouldn’t need the permission of lawyers to post on a blog – ever (with the narrow excpetions of matters related to national security or posts that will likely contribute to causing physical harm to someone).Justin Levine (3fb363) — 10/8/2006 @ 4:33 pm
To further clarify one other point – I have no problem with Patterico taking down the page’s name from my post. He’s the owner of this blog and he sets the editorial policy. As I have only been a guest blogger throughout the years on multiple sites now, I respect the policies of the blog owners.
I only posted the name to illustate the utter absurdity of trying to get the Passionate America website to take the name down through legal threats. If Patterico is persoanlly uncomfortable with it – fine. [Though if Patterico said that the reason he took the name down was because he was afraid of the legal liability and that we needed Jones’ permission to post it, then I would be forced to slap him upside the head and knock some sense into him for his own good. 😉 ]Justin Levine (3fb363) — 10/8/2006 @ 4:42 pm
Justin — I think there’s a respectable position which says that bloggers have the right to post information but that they shouldn’t.
I would not publish the page’s name on my website. But I think that a blogger who does publish such information, while rude and possibly deserving of contempt, is within his legal rights.aphrael (e0cdc9) — 10/8/2006 @ 4:56 pm
Aphrael – I think that point has already been made in my own comments. Stephen Jones certainly implies that it was unlawful to do so (which is nonsense).
If you think that publishing the pages name is deserving of contempt – fine. In this specific context I disagree (as does Wild Bill obviously).Justin Levine (3fb363) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:12 pm
Justin, I totally agree with your first comment #51 and most of #52.
If you were posting on the absurdity of Stephen Jones’ lack of coherrence or his legal position, then that’s one thing. If you were merely lampooning the sentences:
… I’d be laughing right beside you.
I just don’t see how there was anything contemptible in this letter. It was respectful, advised Wild Bill to consult with legal counsel, etc.
I can only assume that Mr. Jones’ legal theory, if any, rests on the fact that his client may have been (probably was according to Wild Bill — it’s just one of the open questions because the IMs may have been altered — although most likely not substantively) under 18 during the initial period of IMs that Wild Bill reported on.
I don’t buy this theory at all and have emailed Wild Bill in support. I’ve been very clear in this thread that I support him… certainly in his right to report and speak out.
But there may be multiple jurisdictions involved due to the electronic nature of the IMs and I personally am not versed in law in any of these jurisdictions. Law itself is subject to different interpretations, which is why they have activist liberal judges.
So maybe his lawyer believed he had a chance, however small, to accomplish one of his client’s goals. I don’t see how this makes him a scumbag and that’s the part of your post I objected to.
If you have a thorough enough grasp of the law in any and all relevant jurisdictions during the applicable time period in this case to know that in Jones’ mind he was wrong in the law and had no possible chance of convincing a court to squash the publication of his client’s name and either you or Patterico or both can spell this out in detail, then, yes, you may convince me that Mr. Jones is contemptible as opposed to wrong.
As a layperson, particularly one who doesn’t even know what all the relevant jurisdictions are, much less all the laws and possible interpretations of them, I just don’t see how you reasonably reached that conclusion so quickly.
Can you explain?Christoph (9824e6) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:21 pm
Patterico: Sorry about the demotion.
Actually, you promoted me. There are only three ADA’s in our office, and they are top administrators.
I am amazed that, as a prosecutor, you have never lost a case or failed to get an indictment from a grand jury. Good work. Please excuse the transgression.
I am amazed that you don’t know the difference between a not guilty verdict and someone being proved innocent.
There have been very, very few trials I have done that resulted in not guilty verdicts. To the best of my memory, in every one where I spoke with jurors afterwards, they said they believed that the defendant was probably guilty — but that, in their opinion, it was not shown beyond a reasonable doubt.
That is hardly someone being “proved innocent” — and I have never done what Jones is doing here, which is to threaten legal action with no basis for it. I would never do that, and I don’t appreciate your completely uninformed and offensive suggestion that I would. I know from past history that you are a Radley-Balko-style hater of prosecutors, but that doesn’t make it appropriate for you to take cheap and false potshots at my integrity and ethics.
I won’t tolerate it, and I will damn well give a sharp response if someone does it.
Do not be flippant about such matters.Patterico (de0616) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:30 pm
Check my update #4. I have found a way to make the point you wanted to make without dragging the former page’s name into it.
I fully support your free speech point, as I hope the update will make clear.Patterico (de0616) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:39 pm
Patterico – I dig it.Justin Levine (3fb363) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:48 pm
“What if I just want you to tell him we’re thinking about suing him for libel?”
Same difference. It’s unethical. Are you a minister of the law? Are you a person who helps the world work? Or are you an extortionist?nk (947b03) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:57 pm
Won’t you also please click on the link Mr. Levine has provided in the post and read Mr. Jones’s letter? If you don’t want to do that won’t you at least please read my comment #3?nk (947b03) — 10/8/2006 @ 6:02 pm
I, just now, read the Jones letter for the third time. He, I thought, was very careful about the mentions of criminal stuff. It came to my mind that Mr. Jones was also being careful with Wild Bill to avoid the uproar that happened when a another lawyer, in a different matter, got after a blogger. See the link.
There is, throughout the matter we are commenting about, an air of incivility and a cavalier attitude towards the reputations of peripheral characters. It is as though some members of the blogsphere are untowardly interested in clicks.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/01/AR2006100100710_pf.htmlRJN (e12f22) — 10/8/2006 @ 6:28 pm
Re: comment #60, Justin’s original post, and Patterico’s redaction
I support Wild Bill and agree with his reasons.
But, if you don’t and you believe the young man’s name shouldn’t be published, why are you linking to the story that reveals his name?Christoph (9824e6) — 10/8/2006 @ 6:56 pm
Regarding #55. It is easy to explain to you. Even if we were to assume that the page was 17 at the time of the instant messages with Foley, there is no law that allows for criminal penalties for publishing the name of minor in connection with a news story. If there was, then scumbag attorney Stephen Jones would have cited specifically in his letter. Please don’t confuse the notion of traditional media practices with “The Law”.
Secondly (and more importantly), Jones must have known that his letter would accomlish nothing in a practcal sense because he only sent it AFTER hundreds of websites and news sources had already published the name of his client in other venues.
Just some of those included: CNN, The Washignton Post, The Miami Herald, Rush Limbaugh (on both his radio show and website), National Review, as well as newspapers in Oklahoma (Jones’s home state). You can do a Google News search to confirm this and discover many other such sites.
If all of these sources would have had a problem with identifying the page before, then why republish the name now?
So if the Passionate America website had caved to Jones’s legal threats, what would it have accomplished? Nothing. He knew this. That is why he is a scumbag.Justin Levine (3fb363) — 10/8/2006 @ 6:58 pm
Actus – nk nailed you on his one.
If an attorney knows that a doctor does eveything that a reasonable professional would have done, it would be unethical to send a serious letter stating that he was “thinking about suing” for medical malpractice.
If a client admits to an attorney that statements published about him are true. It is unethical for an attorney to threaten to sue for libel, or even imply that he might do as such.
Not a hard concept to understand.Justin Levine (3fb363) — 10/8/2006 @ 7:02 pm
Well, Justin, regarding your first paragraph and I thank you for explaining it to me, the reason for my question is that in my country, Canada, media do not routinely publish the names of minor children who are victims of sexual crimes. They publish the crime and name of the alleged adult perpetrator.
I believe this is the law and where it’s not, generally our judges will write an order banning publishing.
Again, this is very much a layman’s interpretation, but is where I was coming from. As I said, I don’t agree with Jones’ position, but I think this is probably where he was coming from.
For your middle paragraphs, I agree.
For your last two paragraphs, I don’t completely follow your wording so I’ll just say that my criteria for calling someone a “scumbag” is higher.
Moving forward, Drudge has a terrible yet truthful headline. It’s not a free speech issue. Just curious if you wanted to post on it, the ramifications, etc.
Also, LGF has this scary article:
Any thoughts?Christoph (9824e6) — 10/8/2006 @ 7:06 pm
” and I have never done what Jones is doing here, which is to threaten legal action with no basis for it. I would never do that, and I dont appreciate your completely uninformed and offensive suggestion that I would. I know from past history that you are a Radley-Balko-style hater of prosecutors, but that doesnt make it appropriate for you to take cheap and false potshots at my integrity and ethics.”
My brain is exploding! You are telling me that you are a prosecutor who has never “worked a plea bargain” by informing a suspect that harder time awaits him unless he deals? I am watching too much television.
If you can call Mr. Jones a scumbag, why can’t I say what I just did (the part about the plea bargains) about you?
[First, you didn’t accuse me of plea bargaining. Second, there is nothing unethical about plea bargaining. — P]
By the way, I am not a “Radly Balko – style hater of prosecutors”; I don’t even think he is. I admire the way a person can take the day after day grind, and the risks (no doubt) given to a prosecutor.
The closest I would come to the situation is a disdain for the drug laws. There is the devil. As far as I know, Balko is also against cowboy cops and the use of SWAT for mundane warrant service. We are all against SWAT’s going to the wrong address and killing people, and dogs.
Good night, sir. I have taken enough of your time this evening.
[It’s quite simple. I don’t appreciate someone disparaging my ethics. Period. You do that, I am going to respond strongly. — P]RJN (e12f22) — 10/8/2006 @ 7:06 pm
Back to basics:
If the charges against Foley were being tried in court only, then the (presumed) minor should have his identity protected.
However, the charges have been brought before the court of public opinion, with his apparent assistance. Nobody ever got charged for perjuring themselves in the court of public opinion that I know of, so we have to do our own digging, as various people have been doing.
First bit of evidence needed is the identity of the presumed victim.
Your choice not to name him, but I don’t agree with the reasons you gave.Phillep (0c3fec) — 10/8/2006 @ 7:23 pm
actus and Justin Levine, re Justin Levine’s comment # 64:
I was not looking to nail anyone. Actus asked a legitimate question about the limits of zealousness and I answered as best as I could.nk (4cd0c2) — 10/9/2006 @ 12:23 am
Actus and nk:
Re: # 64 & 68. You’re right – unlike Jones’ legal threats, I mistook the tone of the comments. I should have written “nk nailed it”, not “nk nailed you”.Justin Levine (3fb363) — 10/9/2006 @ 1:03 am
This is the first blog where the questions of possible criminal conduct on the part of William Kerr were discussed aside from my own blog.
As I write this, I am awaiting word from my co-workers with Ohio State Highway Patrol Investigations Unit as to whether a violation of State and/or Federal laws occurred as a result of the revelation of the identity of a victim of a sex-related offense.
Mr. Jones has received an e-mail from me informing him of my request for such an investigation.
It is now in the hands of the investigators and Mr. Jones as to how far the investigation proceeds.
I’ll leave what I say at my blog to speak for itself, especially my posting on Saturday on the people, in addition to my co-workers, who were negatively impacted by Mr. Kerr’s actions.MLM Liberal (4ff7fd) — 10/9/2006 @ 1:33 pm
MLM Liberal is a piece of dog feces. He posted a picture of Wild Bill’s six-year old son. Don’t give him the traffic and satisfation by clicking on his site.nk (54c569) — 10/9/2006 @ 2:24 pm
Just posted at my blog:
I read the comments of (nk). I discovered he was an attorney himself, as well as a father. One would expect an attorney would provide some substantial insights on the issues I brought up. That’s if he read the commentary accompanying the photo.
But, like conservatives do, if they have nothing substantive to say, they take a lower road than even I did.
Makes you wonder the example he is setting for his kid.MLM Liberal (4ff7fd) — 10/9/2006 @ 3:01 pm
Anybody else suspect that MLM Liberal is Debbie Frisch?nk (956ea1) — 10/9/2006 @ 3:13 pm
MLM Liberal, Debbie Frisch or others, is a disgusting piece of shit. Someone should open up an investigation on him for Internet harrassing/stalking.
Posting a photo of Wild Bill’s 6-year son indeed!
Asshole.Christoph (9824e6) — 10/9/2006 @ 5:39 pm
When I met with the investigators initially on Thursday–one of whom just heard Limbaugh berate that “outed” page–I was assured my posting was legal, and that the ONE SENTENCE I posted at Mr. Kerr’s blog informing him the photo was posted was also legal. Now, we could get into a separate discussion on whether 6-year-olds should even have blogs, but once again conservatives show how they really feel about supporting law enforcement and victims’ rights.MLM Liberal (4ff7fd) — 10/9/2006 @ 7:37 pm
@mlm liberal:assistant devil's advocate (d26d6c) — 10/11/2006 @ 9:00 am
i concur with christoph that you are a piece of shit. your comments are laughably lame. you’re waiting on the ohio highway patrol investigations unit to tell you if the law was broken by the outing of an alleged victim? when the oracle in columbus or cleveland or cincinnati gets back to you with a “no”, you will pass this on to us, right? right?
i don’t believe that the page was a “victim” at all, whether he was 17 or 18. he went from voluntarily cybering a congressman to a position where he might affect control of the house in november, which makes him a player in a full-contact sport. to assess the credibility of the allegations, we have the right to know who he is.
here’s a suggestion: to assure the legality of your own blog posts, take your advice from an attorney, not a law enforcement investigator. your own striving to become a player and your willingness to put someone else’s six year-old boy in play makes your own identity, family members and gay liaisons fair game.
Assistant Devil’s Advocate: The Ohio State Highway Patrol Investigations Unit will be receiving a copy of your comments.MLM Liberal (4ff7fd) — 10/11/2006 @ 4:08 pm
But will they care?Patterico (de0616) — 10/11/2006 @ 6:30 pm
One thing to consider. In D.C., the legal consenting age for sex is 16, not 18. Therefore, it does not appear that this is an underage issue.Natrium (d9ba0c) — 10/15/2006 @ 12:08 am
Wow, you just figured that out, Natrium, thanks for sharing, dude. Why didn’t anyone else think of that?Christoph (9824e6) — 10/15/2006 @ 12:23 am
[…] Why? For the same reasons Oklahoma Attorney Stephen Jones is. [Hat-tip: Instapundit] […]Patterico’s Pontifications » Tennessee Political Consultant Bill Fletcher Is A Contemptible Scumbag (421107) — 10/16/2006 @ 2:01 pm
An amazing collection of urination competitions taking place on this thread. What’s interesting is that a number of you who parry each other’s comments aren’t but an inch apart pilosophically.
Then there are the others who, in spite of what their desired goal for posting is, only serve to keep the sentient minds active through laughter at their inept attempts to form an argument.
Former Congressman Foley is a bad person. He acted on impulses which a decent society says should be suppressed. He did so more than once. Apparently, he did so even after being warned to stop. Resigning was the proper thing to do, and good riddance.
He did not act alone. In the instance before the public, the communications were clearly a dialog understood by both parties.
Did former congressman Foley commit a crime? That remains to be seen. If the other participant in the communications is considered legally a minor at the time of sexually provocative statements from Foley, the answer is yes.
It is no small matter that the legal age of sexual consent in D.C. is 16, itself a fact that I find beyond distasteful, and I cannot help but imagine that such a standard was put in place to accomodate the baser desires of certain persons in power in the District.
A person who may or may not be the “other” participant in the IMs, who is now 21 years of age, has his identity revealed, and that creates a firestorm. I have to wonder, why?
I accept Patterico’s decision (and MMs at HotAir, and others) to not include the name on his own site, but I have to ask, what is the harm?
How can he be the victim of a sex crime if the behavior was mutual, and he was of an age to legally determine his own involvement? And on the chance that somehow D.C.’s local statute is rendered null for the purpose of this crime, he is not currently a minor, so his identity doesn’t fall under the sorts of legal protections that a minor’s would.
And on the thin suggestion that the identified young man isn’t Foley’s IM correspondent, why hasn’t someone said so?
And finally, there is no public suggestion of physical contact between Foley and any underaged page. IMs and emails are at best “virtual” behavior, not to minimize the abhorrent nature of the contents.
A disturbing story, to be sure. But aside from that, I can’t find any “there”, there.Freelancer (cb897a) — 10/17/2006 @ 5:01 pm
Freelancer: Unless you know someone who has been the victim of a sexually oriented crime, or you know a law enforcement officer who investigates sexually oriented crimes, you and the people who graphically criticized me have no clue.
Is it going to take some blogger revealing a rape victim to the whole world before anyone gets it?MLM Liberal (1a6b4c) — 10/18/2006 @ 6:54 am
Nice design! kabababrubartakabababrubarta (454327) — 3/26/2007 @ 3:19 pm