Bucks County, Pa., Family Court Judge Diane Gibbons orders Anthony Morelli to remove blog critical of his ex-wife, but doesn’t that violate his right to free speech, since he was only expressing his frustrations with the court and the process?
Divorce can do crazy things to people, but for a court to get involved in what is protected by free speech under the U.S. Constitution is ridiculous. Anthony Morelli, a Doylestown, Pa., resident is claiming that Bucks County Judge Diane Gibbons violated his freedom of speech and his right to due process by ordering him to shut down thepsychoexwife.com, a blog he began in 2007 to discuss his bitter divorce and child custody battle, according to PhillyBurbs.com.
Anthony Morelli, 42, complied last month with the order handed down by Family Court Judge Diane Gibbons. He then hired Doylestown attorney Kevin Handy to appeal the ruling to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, citing violation of his First and 14th Amendment rights.
Gibbons, who through her staff declined to comment on the open matter before the court, made her ruling in an effort to protect the two children of Anthony and Allison Morelli, according to her statements in transcripts of court proceedings. In doing so, she made it clear that violation of the no-blog ruling could jeopardize Morelli’s standing in the custody case.
Court records show Gibbons told Anthony Morelli and his girlfriend, Misty Weaver-Ostinato, who created the website, are wrong if they believe the order infringed on their free speech. “This is about children,” said the judge during a June 14 hearing. “You may say anything that you would like to say. You may publish it. You may put it on a billboard. But you will not have your children, because that is abusive.” Source: PhillyBurbs.com
Okay, if the posts were calling for bodily harm to the ex-wife, then I can see the judge calling for the site to be removed. But if the gist of the posts over the four years was to express frustration with the divorce process through the courts, the emotional toll it has taken on him and his children, and the angst he feels going through the process, then he has every right under the Constitution to voice that frustration. It is very troubling that the judge could rule in such a manner and it sets a precedent for others going through similar issues in their lives. I’m sure there are many more men and women going through painful divorces that share his sentiment.
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