US: He used foul language in letter to a judge and got jailed for it. What about his free speech rights? - - PressFrom - US
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US He used foul language in letter to a judge and got jailed for it. What about his free speech rights?

23:05  17 november  2019
23:05  17 november  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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And it got Derrick Jenkins thrown in Palm Beach County Jail for 30 days as part of a six-month probation “I believe when I wrote my documents, I was using free speech ,” Jenkins testified this year. In his letter , Jenkins complained that the judge issued his ruling without “a fair and impartial

Profanity is socially offensive language , which may also be called curse words or swearing (British English), cuss words (American English and Canada), swear words, or expletives.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The letter ripped the judge as “incompetent” and “unfit to serve,” with expletives added for emphasis.

a person posing for the camera: Derrick Jenkins, 39, appears in this jail booking photo on April 12, 2019, after he was found guilty of contempt of court for a profanity-laced letter he sent to a Palm Beach County judge.© Palm Beach County Sheriff's Offi/Palm Beach County Sheriff's Offi/TNS Derrick Jenkins, 39, appears in this jail booking photo on April 12, 2019, after he was found guilty of contempt of court for a profanity-laced letter he sent to a Palm Beach County judge.

And it got Derrick Jenkins thrown in Palm Beach County Jail for 30 days as part of a six-month probation sentence. You can’t publicly curse the judge and get away with it, Jenkins found out the hard way.

But now he’s appealing his contempt of court conviction, in a case that raises the question: Don’t you have a First Amendment right to criticize someone wearing a black robe?

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Writing a letter before sentencing is a way to tell a judge that the criminal defendant is a good person who deserves a light sentence. For example, a mother could write, “We will gladly welcome Adam back home so that he can focus on his schooling and getting his job back.

He got his material, by Freedom of Information request, from the CIA’s and FBI’s files on James I am indeed figuring that my day will come, and I will be jailed for saying things like “Let’s protect the Nevertheless it was powerful because he had at his disposal all the riches of jurisprudence and legal

Usually only outside of court, legal experts say. Still, Jenkins’ lawyers argue he was “engaged in political speech” and didn’t deserve any punishment for insulting Circuit Judge Howard K. Coates Jr.

Jenkins, 39, figured he did nothing wrong with his scathing correspondence.

“I believe when I wrote my documents, I was using free speech,” Jenkins testified this year. “But I had no intent to cause anyone any harm.”

Jenkins had slammed Coates in response to the judge’s decision to dismiss his $500 million civil lawsuit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The suit claimed his friend’s time was wasted over a seat belt citation.

In his letter, Jenkins complained that the judge issued his ruling without “a fair and impartial review,” among other perceived slights.

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With a letter you can take your time to get the wording just right , and ensure that all the necessary information is included. It is recommended that you write your letter of apology to the judge yourself. Your defence lawyer will be able to advise you on what should be included, but the wording should be

He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. In some circumstances, you may find it helpful to write a letter to a judge .

“i hope everyone viewing this public document make careful desicions when selecting or electing you,” Jenkins wrote the judge on Jan. 25. “i will hold you personally liable as a man and you’re not immune to jack s---.”

Coates then took action. He charged Jenkins with criminal contempt for “statements and representations calculated to lessen the authority and dignity of the Court.”

This ultimately led to an April trial before Palm Beach County Judge Robert Panse, who was randomly assigned to hear the case.

It featured an unusual scene in which Jenkins served as his own attorney and briefly got to question Coates. Jenkins asked the judge if he caused him any “harm, loss or injury” with the letter.

Coates said it did.

“You have impugned my reputation in the community by calling me, and I’m not going to repeat it, but an f’ing hypocrite and unfit to serve as a judge,” Coates told Jenkins, according to a transcript. “You have accused me of being incompetent. That causes personal harm. But the harm goes beyond me. It goes to the judicial system as well.”

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In " Letter from Birmingham Jail ," he uses metaphor for a variety of effects, both to paint the painful picture of life in the segregated south and to point to the bright possibilities for racial harmony. For instance, he compares unjust laws with dangerous dams, and social progress with a river

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from

Jenkins retorted that the judge “should have thick skin.”

Aaron H. Caplan, a First Amendment expert and professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said Coates appeared to give the nasty letter more consideration than it deserved.

“The smart move would have been to ignore this guy because he’s not saying anything particularly important,” Caplan said. “However, it does sound like it was contempt of court.”

He explained that people can slam a judge all they want online, but not in court, or in a court filing.

“As a general matter, anyone can criticize a judge, anyone can say a judge should not be reelected, and if Mr. Jenkins had written that in a letter and published it in your newspaper, or put it up on the internet, it’s absolutely First Amendment protected,” Caplan said, adding only a threat of physical harm would be problematic.

Inside a courtroom, however, outbursts aren’t tolerated.

“In order to have an orderly and fair justice system, people have to behave themselves in court … disorderly conduct, ranting and raving, insulting the judge, you can be found in contempt of court,” Caplan said.

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The best way to write a letter to a judge starts with knowing how to format it . There are two main reasons someone would write a letter to a judge – one being to ask for something on behalf of A victim can write his or her own victim statement as well, which is quite impactful since he or she is the

With his complicity in the cover-up made public and his political support completely eroded, Nixon It is a virtual certainty that, had he not done so, he would have been impeached by the House and Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the

“If you are a litigant, the things that you say from your mouth in the courtroom and also the papers that you admit for the court’s consideration, all of those could be subject to contempt.”

That’s what tripped up Jenkins, though it was entirely at Coates’ discretion.

“All Judge Coates needed to do was take this letter and stick it in the file and not worry himself about it,” Caplan said. “I personally do not see what is gained by prosecuting a disappointed litigant for contempt of court, and so I would wonder, what is the point?”

Coates has said that he charged Jenkins because he viewed the letter as a “calculated” attempt to force Coates off the case, had Jenkins tried to appeal his ruling.

“That’s the problem with these types of letters, when they go over the top in terms of their criticism, in my view, a contentious way,” Coates testified. He added that Jenkins, “is making personal comments that would provide a basis for me to recuse myself from any further proceedings in the case, if it were to go forward.”

Judge Panse found Jenkins’ letter was “a clear and present danger to the orderly administration of justice,” and declared him guilty of indirect criminal contempt of court. He told Jenkins it’s a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.

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LONDON Americans often cite free speech when controversial statements offend certain groups of That's what happened to one British man recently, over his status update. But the case raises He was arrested "for his own safety," reports The Guardian, following the comments posted on Facebook

He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013. When addressing the envelope, it is best to use the judge 's full title, along with the full name of the court in which Use the language in which you write best.

Panse sentenced Jenkins to six months of probation, with a requirement to serve the first 30 days behind bars because of the “serious nature of what you did.”

The punishment stunned the Royal Palm Beach man, who was informed he had no right to bond and would be placed in handcuffs immediately.

“Are you telling me this is the only way to resolve an issue, by sending me to jail? Are you telling me there is no other way?” Jenkins pleaded.

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” answered Panse. “I actually cut you a break. I was thinking about giving you more jail time.”

Andrew Greenlee and Greg Rosenfeld, lawyers for Jenkins, filed an appeal Oct. 30, that argues the contempt ruling “clearly violated” Jenkins’ Constitutional rights and his conviction should be overturned.

“His letter … said he could not ‘wait til voters wake up and get rid of these f------ clowns you call judges,’” the lawyers wrote, adding, “such speech is entitled to the highest protection under the First Amendment.”

Greenlee and Rosenfeld contend Jenkins also was free to blast Coates because the comments were about a lawsuit that had already been tossed. So the epithet-filled letter didn’t pose a “danger of imminent and substantial harm” to the court system, they contend.

It wasn’t the first time Coates came under attack over one of his rulings.

In 2017, a Broward man faced criminal charges after sending harassing emails to Coates and calling the judge a “disgraceful scumbag” in court filings. Coates had imposed restraining orders against the man in a stalking case.

But those emails contained specific threats against Coates, and the man later pleaded guilty to aggravating stalking of the judge and was ordered to have mental health treatment.

Jenkins, in his letter, made demands for an “investigation” of Coates along with a lot of name-calling.

“Though it contained numerous insults and epithets, the letter contained nothing that could be construed as a threat,” his lawyers wrote.

Jenkins, during his contempt trial, insisted “it’s every American’s constitutional right to criticize, even ridicule, judges and other participants in the judicial system.”

But Panse then explained “the bounds of speech are not limitless,” and Jenkins’ “scandalous and noxious allegations against Judge Coates” were out of bounds.

Panse said he had to convict Jenkins “in order to protect the integrity of the judiciary and the proper administration of justice.”

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©2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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