Florida Judge Issues Shocking Order For Newspaper To “Unpublish” News Story

The_Palm_Beach_Post_front_pageCircuit Judge Jack Schramm Cox has made a rather ignoble entry into national news with a clearly unconstitutional order to the Palm Beach Post to unpublish material from its website. The act of prior restraint violates core first amendment protections and will achieve nothing since the information was part of a public filing. The utter lack of legal judgment (and knowledge) shown by Cox in this order is deeply troubling.

Cox ordered The Palm Beach Post to remove from its website transcripts of telephone recordings of Frederick Cobia, a jailhouse snitch who brags about his ability to elicit confessions from fellow inmates and how he scored a deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence. The transcript was obtained by defense counsel and made part of a public filing. Despite the wide availability of copies of the filing and the later posting by the newspaper, Cox bizarrely ordered the Post to remove two paragraphs from the online version of the story.

The Post complied with the following note:

“EDITOR’S NOTE: Under the Nov. 30, 2015, order of Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jack Schramm Cox, The Palm Beach Post has removed transcripts of portions of recordings of phone calls made by Frederick Cobia while being held in the Palm Beach County Jail. Also removed from a previous version of this story are two paragraphs that included quotations from the transcripts. The Post is appealing Cox’s ruling.”

The Post has noted that the original version of the October story “continues to live on the internet.” Indeed, anyone can locate the original material on locations like this one. Moreover, this was lawfully obtained material that the newspaper is entitled to publish. In other words, there was even less practice than legal sense in trying to get this cat to walks backwards. While Cox believes that Cobia’s right to privacy was violated, this was the wrong part to address any such violation. Instead of curing the privacy violation, he added a serious constitutional violation.

Cox was appointed by former Governor Charlier Crist in 2008 to the 15th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University in 1973 and his J.D. degree from the Cumberland School of Law in 1978.

36 thoughts on “Florida Judge Issues Shocking Order For Newspaper To “Unpublish” News Story”

  1. John Smith, What type of person is it who attempts, using various logical fallacies to discourage others who are attempting to improve a system that is severely broken and in need of repair or replacement?

    RB – nineteen (19) individuals deciding the rule of law for some 325 million people? I wonder how many Judges King George had on his court? Do you think they rubber stamped his edicts? Lol

    If 535 are still screwing us over, do you really think 19 will cut the mustard?

  2. The real crisis to watch is in the courts, many (not all) judges have become mere politicians running for office.

    If the courts can restore their integrity and independence – any citizen, even poor people, that are harmed by any unconstitutional practice passed by Congress can overturn an act of any legislature if they can win the debate in court.

    Today the courts have lost that integrity and independence to “check” the other two branches. Turley’s idea of enlarging the U.S. Supreme Court to 19 justices would probably help. The courts were supposed to be designed for the little guy and the powerless harmed by the “tyranny of the Majority” [James Madison].

  3. I am not the one who suggested anarcho capitalism, you did. I know what it is, you can spell out the foolishness to others if you like. You’d do better just to point them to lewrockwelldotcom.

    Liberterians of every stripe from objectivists to rothbard fans don’t get it. Government is collective social action. Collective social action’s most fundamental purpose is security. First against the outsider and then against insiders. No social action is going to be more powerful or more effective than government and no group of strong and wise men will ever willingly forego the human technology that is government. So all forms of anarchism from leftist syndicalism to right wing rothbardian imaginings are all DOA. They are oxymoronic, linguistic contradictions. Government of no government. As the youths say, “ok, whatever!”

    There is a fundamental tension between democratic will and individual rights. Sometimes they will run together and sometimes not. Constitutional regimes negotiate that tension, to one degree or another. There is no getting outside this basic tension. And the US constitution and system handles it the way it does. UK or some other countries do what they do.

    Anyhow another fallacy of libertarianism, and right wingers in general, is that they think they are going to cobble together grass roots this or that which may overtake the current Imperial trajectory. a more folksy version of hippie people power. That is in itself an illusion of “safety value” usefulness. That is not going to happen. There is a logic of history at work that is bigger than us. We can probably slow the slide, or adapt to it, but imagining some other glorious constitutional innovation or another is just rearranging chairs on the Titanic.

    So you are left with further extraordinary efforts that are basically a waste of time like handing out fully informed jury pamphlets– which I actually agree with in substance– but the effort is mostly a waste. Spitting into a tidal wave. If you want to have an effect maybe you should go to law school and become a lawyer.

    I have seen the FIJ advocates running tv spots on cable access. that probably reaches ten to a thousand times more people than handing out pamphlets.

    In this case, the fellow who got himself arrested, has a difficult pickle to resolve. But right wing grass-roots outfits are great at applauding the heroic sacrifices of activists while leaving them twisting in the wind. Have you given to this chap’s defense fund or commissary? I bet if a lot of right wingers would put their money where their mouths are they would get a lot farther with their glorious causes. In the meantime they will keep tilting at windmills like gay marriage or FIJA or ‘the unconstititutional income tax” or another hundred feckless efforts manned by a bunch of unpaid volunteers and lead by profiteers, which do nothing to disturb the powers that be at all.

    1. John, You’re a smart guy, at least I think so. I’m kind of shocked though at how little you understand. Today we are an economic, social and ethical disaster getting ready to go into the deepest period of depression and chaos this country has ever experienced. I’m not going to suggest how or when specially it all unfolds but is is going to be horrible for millions of people and few will escape the turmoil.

      There is a reason every single nation state in history has crashed and burned just as the US will soon do. Do the math. It relatively simple economics. Your are refusing to consider the economics focusing solely on the sociological aspects which is OK because that is surely an important portion of the system but keeping your eyes closed on the economics is naive.

      In all honesty our system is way passed the point of no return socio-economically and those like Ron Paul and Peter Schiff have long known it. I can go down the long list of social and economic problems but it would be to long to post in a single thread.

      Wise men would learn for this so you’re initial premise is wrong. Government is not created by any group of wiser people than others. Greedier yes, less integrity yes. Jefferson and Paine were wise men, Bush, Obama and Cheney not so much.

      We have had 6,000 to 8,000 years of history and those periods with less government created greater prosperity and wealth to the majority. When governments are most powerful the majority suffers the greatest. You would think that truly wise men would learn from history.

      FYI: The Federal income tax is not unconstitutional. It’s only being misapplied and erroneously enforced against those who are not required to pay it.

      You’re going to have to do something drastic to save our system and telling people not to try to fight back is to me unethical.

  4. Campaign Finance Reform to return the system back to the pre-Reagan era would probably help also. We need a system where humans have greater representation than dollars – for Congress, state legislatures, judges and other judicial officers. There is also much bi-partisan support for restoring the system and voters would probably support it.

    Jimmy Carter has been a big leader on this effort as well.

  5. Just working within constitutional boundaries, it’s a legal Freedom of Speech exercise and lots of other groups do the same thing.

    Not an attorney but was blacklisted before and after 9/11, first hand knowledge of the fraud of the response on the so-called War on Terror – biggest fraud I’ve ever witnessed. When the government watchdogs (including judges) won’t help you citizens only have the Bill of Rights – so people like me become experts and sound like an attorney.

    1. There is nothing in the Constitution that says we can start such a system and challenge them in the court of public opinion. I know we can’t force then to adopt it, nor think they will just lay down their gavels.

      I think that we should surely be able to write better opinions, not me, but I have seen some great work out there. There would be a lot of great legal minds on our side. It is the general public we have to convince. Remember that the American Socialist Party was able to influence the enactments of all their 1928 and 1932 platforms into law without any of their candidates being elected. The biggest problem is the main stream media but the internet is slowing changing that. Once this older generation dies off, I think it will be a new ball game. The main stream media integrity ratings have plummeted among internet users.

  6. H Skip Robinson:

    Wow, you could always submit the equivalent of an amicus brief by having your group buy a full-page newspaper ad in the Washington Post – they would see that!

  7. H Skip Robinson:

    It might be easier to do than you think. Congress could relax the standard for regular citizens to submit “Amicus Briefs” which are currently only available to bar-registered attorneys.

    Amicus Briefs are (non-binding) advisory opinions usually submitted by experts on any particular topic. Ultimately the ruling authority still belongs to the justices but it essentially gives you a seat at the table. Justices are not required to read amicus briefs but think most of their clerks try to consider all vantage points of a case. Clerks can physically only read so many briefs, so maybe citizen-briefs could be consolidated to cover points not covered by the actual litigants in the case.

    That might be as close as you get without overturning the landmark case of “Marbury v. Madison” which was legal tradition in England centuries before our U.S. Constitution was even ratified. Nearly impossible to do that and for good reason.

    1. I don’t think that would cut it Ross. Now, it’s so blatant they’re just flat out refuse to hear cases as they did in We The People v. US 485 F.3D 140 (2007) basically just nullifying the right under the 1st Amendment to petition the government for Redress of Grievances. Another “right” down the tube. We had asked the IRS/Treasury to answer 62 questions in a formal petition and they just ignored us on all three services. We then sued them to force them to answer the questions. The Federal and Appellate Courts say the do not have to answer our questions. 2,000 people were named plaintiffs in the case, myself being one of them. The games over unless we do something substantial to change it.

Comments are closed.