Blog Takes Failed Marriage Into Fight Over Free Speech
Normally, Garrido v. Krasnansky, a divorce case playing out in Vermont family court, would be of little interest to anyone but the couple involved. But the court has ordered the husband to stop posting blog items about his wife and their crumbled marriage, possibly turning an ordinary divorce into a much broader battle over free speech on the Internet.
The husband, William Krasnansky, posted what he calls a fictionalized account of the marriage on his blog late last year. His wife, Maria Garrido, complained to the judge overseeing their divorce, who ordered Mr. Krasnansky to take down “any and all Internet postings” about his wife and their marriage pending a hearing next month.
Mr. Krasnansky, 51, says the order amounts to a prior restraint, a rare restriction of speech before publication, and a violation of his constitutional right to free speech. His lawyer, Debra R. Schoenberg of Burlington, Vt., has asked Judge Thomas Devine of Washington County Family Court to vacate the order and dismiss Ms. Garrido’s motion for immediate relief.
The order has surprised some experts in First Amendment law, who say it constitutes a prior restraint and appears too broad to be constitutional, especially since no hearing or trial has been held.
In many respects, this is a stunning notion. I am an avid reader of Andrew Vachss‘ “Burke” novels, which are *very* noir looks at a particularly awful family of crimes — sexual predation of children. The Burke character is wholly unconstrained by the norms of lawful society when dealing with these sorts of criminals. While they are compelling reads, they are also awful stories, and the reader gets a “Dirty Harry” sort of rush when they are resolved.
Fine and good — after all, these are novels, not anything “real,” right?
Until you learn that Andrew Vachss has past history as a prosecutor of these sorts of crimes, at which point these novels take on a different complexion — if I worked in that profession, I too would require some sort of cathartic outlet.
But would you really want to classify this sort of writing as a crime?