Perhaps you remember the strange case of Dr. Bartha. He's the guy who blew up an historic building in New York City after a divorce court ordered him to sell the building and split the net sale proceeds with his former wife. He had claimed the building as his separate property. His point, I suppose, was "If I can't have it, then neither can you." I wrote about it here in "Bizarre end to separate property dispute."
Another bizarre case is pending in Vermont where William Krasnansky publishes a Blog found at http://lookatmypugs.livejournal.com/. Mr. Krasnansky's wife "Runnoft" (according to him), leaving him, the two pugs, and the cat. Unfortunately, she also left behind -- Uh Oh -- about seven years' worth of journals, portions of which he has been selectively publishing online. [NOTE: Ignore the barking dogs.]
Despite an ex parte court order issued Dec. 7, 2007 that orders him to take down "any and all Internet postings" about his wife or their marriage, Mr. Krasnansky has refused to take down his blog. He states that leaving the Blog up is “a deliberate act of civil disobedience.”
Naturally, legal pundits are discussing the First Amendment free speech ramifications of the ex parte order. A hearing on the issue was scheduled to occur in February, although it appears that, in the face of Mr. Krasnansky's flaunting of the order, the hearing may occur at an earlier date.
William Krasnansky 's blog has been up for about four weeks. The date of the most recent post is December 24, 2007. He claims that everything he writes about is merely fiction. There's a profanity-laced disclaimer at the bottom of the blog to that effect. The length and specificity of the disclaimer . . . "any reference to . . . is merely coincidental" invites skepticism.
Krasnansky's wife's attorney told the New York Times that the blogs are "inaccurate, derogatory, defamatory and inappropriate" and that they amount to harassment. According to the NY Times:
"Even though he says it's fiction, it's fiction 'wink wink,' so you start to think, ah hah, I know what that person's really like. That's a devastating thing to do to somebody," said family law attorney Lynne Gold-Bikin, who is not representing either party in the case.
"The Internet has become the world's soapbox, which is why this is such a cutting-edge legal question," Krasnansky's attorney Debra Schoenberg said today on "Good Morning America."
See the New York Times article here. Blog Takes Failed Marriage into Fight over Free Speech
Also seen on ABC News
NOTE: In reviewing Mr. K's website on February 11, 2008, I note that the original material has been deleted. In its place are two posts, one written on February 5 and one written on February 10. It's clear that a court hearing has occurred addressing the issue of the restraining order. It would appear that the judge's order stands. Apparently this is old news, however, and even Google can't help us discover the grounds for the judge's ruling. The only possible grounds could have been an exception to the First Amendment, as briefly discussed in my post Divorce Wars & Invasion of Privacy on January 13th.