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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ex-Spouse Takes Out Divorce Angst on his Blog

Boy, would I welcome the chance to write this appeal.

A family court judge in Bucks County, Pennsylvania has enjoined divorcee Anthony Morelli from operating his web site devoted to his ex-wife; thepsychoexwife.

Judge Diane Gibbons based her decision on grounds the Father's blog, which details his failed marriage, his tortuous divorce process, and its protracted custody battle, is harming his young children.  In fact, the blog does a hatchet job on his ex.

Morelli says the blog is a forum where he can help others "minimize conflict" and connect to share stories. He would like us to think of his blog as a kumbaya community where divorced men can rip their ex-wives with impunity.  Touching, for real.

His lawyers have appealed Judge Gibblons' injunction claiming it is an unconstitutional prior restraint in violation of Morelli's First Amendment right to free speech.

For her part, Morelli's ex-wife says their children know about the blog, which is a shame.

Since he started the blog back in 2007, it has attracted a robust readership of nearly 200,000 new followers per month.  At one point, Morelli was earning money from third-party advertisements on the blog.

We'd love to cultivate that type of readership over here at the Law Blogger; figures that such a negative energy factory would do so well.

Prior restraint of free speech, however, is a serious problem in this case.  Judges, even family court judges, cannot restrain our free speech.  A blog is one of the most common contemporary media designed to amplify freedom of expression.  If a blogger lacks taste and restraint, should a local judge act as a censor?

Judge Gibbons' injunction in the Morelli case will undoubtedly be reversed on appeal.

Do you think family court judges should be able to regulate the content of a party's speech in a high-conflict divorce proceeding?  Where would you draw the line; threats? abusive commentary?

We would like to know what you think on this issue...

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