Congratulations

Running Wolf Blog extends hearty congratulations to the defendants in the Kimberlin v Walker Et Al case for the rulings they received today.  RWB has not been blogging about what we call the Kimberlin Kerfuffle to much of any detail, but recognize the importance to the Bloggers involved in today’s ruling.  Essentially, the case has been neutered, only defamation and false light remain, and the plaintiff is facing sanctions for failure to comply with discovery.  More details can be found in this post at Hogewash, by following @bombersues or by following @aaronworthing.

Again, congratulations!

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Am I getting a visit from a serial twitter from Maryland?

Running Wolf Blog was recently threatened with being charged with a violation of Alabama Code 13A-11-8, the Harassment law.  As this blog has already completely fisked the possibility of being charged under that law, we wouldn’t be Running Wolf Blog if we didn’t look into it further.  After getting a hint or two from our Friendly Neighborhood Lawyer, Running Wolf Blog looked into what would be required for us to be charged with a violation of 13A-11-8.

Side note: the rest of this post will be on the assumption that Running Wolf Blog is, in fact, in violation of 13A-11-8.  Running Wolf Blog categorically denies that anything this blog has published is in any way in violation of 13A-11-8.  We are proceeding with the faulty assumption for the purpose of education on Alabama Criminal Procedure.

Assuming a serial twitter in Maryland did call the Huntsville Police Department and/or the Madison County Sheriff’s department (both of whom can be reached at the non-emergancy line of  256-722-7100 for Huntsville Police and 256-722-7181 for the Sheriff), what exactly would happen?  In short, probably not much.  I’ve heard the serial twitter from Maryland speak on blog radio, and must say given a sympathetic ear, the twitter can be quite persuasive, so this blog will assume that after making the call to the Law Enforcement Office of choice, it is possible that that the serial twitter may just convince an officer to look into it further.  Here is the first roadblock along the way to the arrest of anyone at Running Wolf Blog.

13A-11-8 is a Class C Misdemeanor, and as such a police officer generally can not make an arrest based on the strength of an accusation.  In Alabama, police may only arrest misdemeanor crimes if the misdemeanor is committed in their presence.  There are several exceptions to this rule, as expressed in Alabama Code 15-10-3, the law that covers arrests without a warrant.  One of those exceptions is misdemeanor’s that occur under 13A-11-8.

Oh no, that’s the law Running Wolf Blog is being threatened with!  We better take a closer look at 15-10-3.

(8) When an offense involves domestic violence as defined by this section, and the arrest is based on probable cause, regardless of whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor.

(b) For the purpose of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) ABUSE. Any offense under Sections 13A-6-60 to 13A-6-70, inclusive, or under Sections 26-15-1 to 26-15-4, inclusive.

(2) ASSAULT. Any offense under Sections 13A-6-20 to 13A-6-25, inclusive.

(3) FAMILY, HOUSEHOLD, OR DATING OR ENGAGEMENT RELATIONSHIP MEMBERS. Includes a spouse, former spouse, parent, child, or any other person related by marriage or common law marriage, a person with whom the victim has a child in common, a present or former household member, or a person who has or had a dating or engagement relationship.

(4) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Any incident resulting in the abuse, assault, harassment, or the attempt or threats thereof, between family, household, or dating or engagement relationship members.

(5) HARASSMENT. Any offense under Section 13A-11-8.

Alabama Code 15-10-3-8.  Emphisis and strike through added by your host for clarity.

So an officer can make an arrest on probable cause without a warrant under 13A-11-8 if, and only if, the parties involve have a family, household, or dating or engagement relationship.  Thankfully, this blog has none of those with the serial twitter from Maryland.

So if the twitter from Maryland was persuasive enough, the officer may launch an investigation, such as reading this blog.  That would be great, since Running Wolf Blog believes our writing stands for itself, but assuming our Maryland based twitter was convincing enough that a dishonest police officer wanted to take the case forward, what would he do?  He would present his case to a Assistant District Attorney, who would then make the decision of whether or not the case is winnable, if the witnesses are reliable, and if after everything else the ADA could present it to a judge to get a warrant.  Running Wolf Blog will not speculate on the likelihood of that happening except to note some fella name’d Slim just left the room.

So exactly how would the serial twitter from Maryland file a charge under 13A-11-8?  It’s really quite easy, all the twitter would have to do is go before a judge or magistrate.  In the county he alleges the the crime took place.  That would be Madison County, Alabama.  Since this serial twitter from Maryland has already threatened a criminal charge against this blog, that must mean he doesn’t intend to violate this blog’s 6th Amendment rights, so the twitter must have already planned on making multiple trips to Alabama the Beautiful, and by multiple trips, I mean that a class c misdemeanor in Huntsville is first heard at the municipal level, and both the defense and the prosecution will get an automatic appeal to circuit court, and with delays, discovery and other pre-trial shenanigans, the serial twitter from Maryland will be spending days if not weeks visiting the beautiful countryside of the Heart of Dixie.

Assuming after his initial visit before a judge a warrant is issued and a prosecutor, after seeing the tweets issued today that confirms, to the detail, my story of yesterday, and finding out that i’ve had next to none direct communication with the serial twitter from Maryland that wasn’t initiated by that individual, decided to prosecute at all.  Did I mention Slim has left the room?

The Right to remain silent…

As I discussed yesterday, one of the great constitutional rights we wall share is the right to remain silent.  It is not a passive right, but a right that must be actively engaged.  There is another aspect of the right that we should consider.

He has the right to remain silent. He lacks the wisdom to do so.

WJJ Hoge in a comment on his blog.

If I were a serial twitter from Maryland who just claimed I was going to file harassment charges against a blogger in Alabama in which the blogger in Alabama has accused me of the production of porn, and has further specified that the term producer in his blog post is being used as the meaning used in Part 2257 of the federal code, then I would probably remain silent about if I had actually done such a thing.  As long as I remain silent, the burden of truth remains entirely on that Alabama blogger.

Of course, if I lack the wisdom to do so, then I may turn to Twitter and issue a serious of twits whereby I claim to have done exactly what the blogger from Alabama claims that I had done in his blog post.  That should make my time on the stand in the Harassment criminal charge against the Alabama Blogger a very interesting time for me.  Gosh, I’d be forced to admit on the stand that what he said is true, and therefore not harassment.  At that point, I wonder how many Prosecutors in Alabama would be willing to move forward with the case and actually bring it to trial?  Over a Class C Misdemeanor, in which the primary witness admits to doing what the primary witness called harassing communication claims that the witness did?  Of course there is the additional hurdle that the Alabama Blogger was communicating about the me, and not to me, but let’s not quibble over unimportant things like the black letter of the law.

It is an interesting thought experiment, but I don’t suggest that it be put to the legal test, since it opens all sorts of nasty doors that have blowback on the serial twitter from Maryland.

Alabama Code 13A-11-8

Recently an online adjudicated harasser has threatened this blog with Alabama Code 13A-11-8.  So I thought readers here at Running Wolf Blog would like to take a look at the code of Alabama as it pertains to 13A-11-8.

Running Wolf Blog will step through the code in question, and see where this blog may be vulnerable.  The code has two parts, general harassment and online communication harassment.  We will go through the first part now.

13A-11-8, in the general harassment has several sections.  The first section (13A-11-8-a) states as follows:

Harassment or harassing communications.

(a)(1) HARASSMENT. A person commits the crime of harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she either:

a. Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches a person or subjects him or her to physical contact.

13A-11-8-a of the Alabama Code

Since no person associated with Running Wolf Blog has ever been in the physical presence of the individual threatening Running Wolf Blog, it is impossible for anyone associated with Running Wolf Blog to be guilty of anything under this clause.

b. Directs abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture towards another person.

– 13A-11-8-b of the Alabama Code

Again, since no person associated with Running Wolf Blog has ever been in the physical presence of the individual threatening Running Wolf Blog with this particular section of the Alabama Code, it is hard to imagine how an obscene gesture has been made against the individual.  As for abusive or obscene language, Running Wolf Blog claims first amendment protection for the phrase “fuck you” and believes that such  language is protected speech under the constitution.

(2) For purposes of this section, harassment shall include a threat, verbal or nonverbal, made with the intent to carry out the threat, that would cause a reasonable person who is the target of the threat to fear for his or her safety.

(3) Harassment is a Class C misdemeanor.

– 13A-11-8-b2-3 of the Alabama Code

Running Wolf Blog has never made a threat against anyone, including the individual threatening this blog under this statue.  If anyone can find any credible threat made on this blog, Running Wolf Blog is more than willing to issue an immediate retraction and apology.

The second section of 13A-11-8 deals with “Harassing Communication.

(b)(1) HARASSING COMMUNICATIONS. A person commits the crime of harassing communications if, with intent to harass or alarm another person, he or she does any of the following:

a. Communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail, or any other form of written or electronic communication, in a manner likely to harass or cause alarm.

– 13A-11-8-b1 of the Alabama Code

The Running Wolf Blog has not contacted the person interested in charging the blog with Harassment in any means unless requested by the individual.  Running Wolf Blog has kept all communications with the individual to only two mediums; comments on this blog or @mentions on twitter.  Seeing as how the individual wishing to press charges against this blog has argued, repeatedly and consistently that @mentions on twitter is not contact, Running Wolf Blog is confidant that a court of law, specifically a criminal court, will not find that this blog has violated this measure of the statue.  Even if the individual could persuade the District Attorney that despite the individuals repeated claim that @mentions on Twitter do not constitute contact, this blog is confident that no contact, even through @mentions, violates this clause of the statue.

b. Makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication.

– 13A-11-8-b1-b of the Alabama Code

Running Wolf Blog has, at no time, ever used the telephone to contact the individual seeking charges against this blog.  There is no way this blog could have violated this clause of the statue.

c. Telephones another person and addresses to or about such other person any lewd or obscene words or language.

Nothing in this section shall apply to legitimate business telephone communications.

(2) Harassing communications is a Class C misdemeanor.

– 13A-11-8-b1-c and 13A-11-8-b1-2 of the Alabama Code

Again, since this blog has never used the telephone to contact the individual wishing to press charges against this blog, it is unclear how these clauses of the statue partain to the Running Wolf Blog.

Running Wolf Blog admits at this point in time that if the individual wishing to press charges against this blog does, in fact, press charges, the individual behind Running Wolf Blog will put up absolutely no defense against the charges with the arresting officers.  Should an arrest warrant be issued, Running Wolf Blog, and specifically Michael Malone, will turn himself in to the Huntsville Police and/or the Madison County Alabama Sheriff on the warrant.  Running Wolf Blog will, at the time of the arrest, exert his full 5th Amendment right to silence and his 6th amendment right to a speedy trial.  Should such charges be brought against this blog, Running Wolf Blog looks forward to the trial by jury during which this blog will continue to express our 5th Amendment right to silence, and look forward to our 6th Amendment right to face our accuser and ask questions designed to discredit the prosecution’s witness.  In fact, Running Wolf Blog looks forward to questioning the witness before a jury with great relish.  Running Wolf Blog cautions the individual threatening such charges to think long and hard on the result such charges will incur, and the fact that pressing charges against this blog opens the individual to the Jurisdiction of the State of Alabama.  Running Wolf Blog encourages the individual considering said charges to contemplate the possible outcomes of the comments left here on this blog in addition the the various twitter @mentions the individual in question has made along with the very real threat the individual has made to cause Running Wolf Blog to fear for it’s safety after the significantly failed doxing perpetrated against the proprietor of this blog.  Running Wolf Blog hopes that the individual in question will reconsider his stated actions, for the individual’s own sake.

As always, Runnig Wolf Blog appreciates the readers and supporters of this blog, and looks forward to future communications and reports on the actions of any individual this blog finds news and/or noteworthy in the future.

Constitutional Rights

To most people, their constitutional rights are whatever they think they are, and they only apply to themselves.  Fortunately, that’s not the way Constitutional rights work.  Instead, we all enjoy the same rights to the same level.  Oh, we can quibble about how money can get you more rights than others, but fundamentally and ideally, we all have the same constitutional rights.

But how we exercise those rights is very important.  For example, the right to remain silent, believe it or not you can’t just stay silent to remain silent.  The Supreme Court has ruled that you must affirmatively exercise this right by saying “I exercise my right to remain silent.”

Other rights throw wrenches in the system that make lots of people unhappy, but it doesn’t matter it’s your right.  Things like the right to a speedy trial.  Let’s suppose someone out of state files a criminal charge against you.  Did you know that you have a 6th Amendment right to a speedy trial?  It’s true, but you must continually demand a speedy trial, much like you must affirm your right to remain silent.  But that means that the out of state person will have to show up in court when you get your trail date.  Because that’s another 6th Amendment right, the right to face your accuser.  So if this out of state person fails to show up on your trial date, you affirm your right to a speedy trial.  If it isn’t the first time, well the whole thing just might go away.  If it is, there may be a delay.  But you affirm your rights anyway.

Finally, there is the lovely 5th amendment rights, most importantly the right not to bring witness against yourself.  That means your tormentor will have to face your questions, but in a criminal trail you can not be compelled to take the stand against yourself.  You have the constitutional right to discredit the witness against you.  And if you’re witness has a questionable past, all the easier it is to discredit whatever they have to say, assuming they show up at all.  Assuming they are willing to travel to back up their charge against you.

Here’s another fun fact, by filing a charge against you, your hypothetical out of state tormentor has willingly placed themselves under the jurisdiction of your state.  That makes sense, after all they asked law enforcement in your state to file a charge against you.  To back up that charge, they must be willing to travel to your state to face the person they are accusing.  That puts the accuser squarely into your local jurisdiction to file a counter charge against them.  So if some hypothetical out of state individual charges you with a criminal charge, they had best be sure they haven’t stepped on any legal potholes in your state.  If they have, well… you know what to do.

This all assumes that the District Attorney in your county will look at the charge and be willing to prosecute.  Knowing that the person who charged you is out of state, unlikely to appear, and is currently embroiled in their own legal troubles… well you get the idea.

But this is all hypothetical.  If you think this post in directed at you, then perhaps you should fully think through the charges you wish to press against an out of state individual and make sure you are really willing to follow through to the end.