CLICK HERE: Oral Arguments held July 17, 2012, now posted!
Custody Order Violates First & Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution
In a Family Courtroom in Bucks County, PA, Judge Diane E. Gibbons recently ordered a father to take down a website, a blog actually, called: ThePsychoExWife.com. A portion of this site is dedicated to telling a story, based on true events, regarding a very contentious divorce and custody battle with this ex-wife. The purpose of the website was to attract others going through similarly difficult divorce and custody situations in order to help them manage theirs better. The Father, in this case, was ordered to shut it down under threat of incarceration and/or risk losing custody of his children.
Judge Diane E. Gibbons has violated the father’s civil rights by ordering him to remove the blog. Fact is, he neither owns the website nor the content. The existence of the website, in and of itself, has no affect on his children. It would forever remain so, provided both parents monitor the children’s computer usage as any good parent should.
You can read the full transcript of Judge Diane E. Gibbons orders here.
The father has appealed this order on the grounds that his civil rights are being violated in several different ways, not the least of which is the violation of the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution regarding freedom of speech as well as his 14th Amendment rights as he was not allowed to present evidence or object during the two hearings she held, in fact the Judge would not even let him speak or respond to false accusations made by his ex and the judge herself at all. The order also violates Pennsylvania’s State Constitution.
We are asking for help in this defense because it is an issue that faces any parent that is divorced. Imagine a judge telling you that you cannot talk about your children on “any public media” – which would include things like Facebook updates, Twitter, or your personal blog – or you will lose custody. Imagine the far-reaching consequences for bloggers everywhere if orders such as this one are left unchallenged? There goes your online support group. There goes your Facebook and Twitter updates. Your website, personal OR commercial – ordered gone under threat of incarceration and having your beloved children removed from your custody. This order flies in the face of our civil rights, and your civil rights, too! Imagine trying to protect your children from abuse and a judge telling you that you must hide the abuse and protect the abuser by not allowing you to talk about the abuse in public, we can’t let this stand.
For those of you that work in the Internet Marketing Industry – imagine a family court threatening to remove your children from your life because you run a website they object to, though your children never even see it. If you are an author, imagine a family court threatening to remove your children from your life because you write a book they object to. Imagine sending a vulgar email to your brother who passes it on to your ex-wife and a judge decides you shouldn’t have custody because she didn’t like the joke. This could happen to you. This is happening across the country right now, and we must stand up to this violation of the First Amendment. We must protect our freedom of speech and not allow family judges to use our rights against us when deciding custody. Rulings such as these are not rare or isolated occurrences. They happen with more regularity than anyone in this country could possibly begin to realize.
A positive outcome to this case unquestionably has the potential to have a significant impact on a wide range of businesses, families, people. We humbly request your support.
How You Can Help:
Donate to our Legal Fund – Any Amount
This process is extremely expensive and may need to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. In 7 years of legal battles we’ve spent over $116,000 already. We must win this appeal in order to protect our freedom of speech – just because you are divorced doesn’t mean you give up your civil rights. Most people in custody disputes don’t have the funds to fight these kinds of legal issues, we have the chance to stand up for many others, not just ourselves, by fighting this right now! Every $1 donation counts!
While we have done a lot of legal research and have hired a firm we believe represents this issue well (Cooley & Handy, Attorneys At Law), we are certainly open to any help anyone in the legal community can give! This can include the filing of an amicus curiae or just sending us relevant case law you may be aware of in case we have missed something.
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