Blogger Going To Jail For Not Turning Over Computer

A second blogger being sued by the mother of the late Anna Nicole Smith is set to spend a weekend behind bars for failing to do what a local judge asked.

Teresa Stephens, accused in a civil lawsuit of defaming Smith’s mother, was arrested Thursday in the Fort Worth area and is due in Harris County court Monday morning.

A judge will ask Stephens, whose blogging name is Butterfly according to the lawsuit, to show why she should not be found in contempt for failing to follow court orders to turn over her computer and to appear in court to explain why she didn’t do so.

You would think the Anna Nicole Smith story would have played out by now. It appears you would be wrong.

According to the story in the Houston Post this morning, two bloggers have been held in contempt of court for not turning over their computers to the court in a defamation case. I guess I don’t understand the reason behind this order. Since very little of my blog is stored on my computer, the only thing the judge would get by confiscating my system would be the backup files for my themes and plugins. All of the databases, meaning all of the posts and comments, are stored on my hosting service. The backups of the databases live in my email archive on Google.

Interesting story…It raises a number of questions and concerns in my mind as a blogger. My main concern is how much technology does the Judge in this case understand.

I found this statement troubling…

It is highly unusual for a judge to use civil laws to place someone, especially a non-lawyer, in jail.

It looks as if blogging has reached a point where bloggers will be held accountable for their speech…I guess it’s time to put up a disclaimer about comments…eh?

via Another blogger sued by Anna Nicole’s mom sent to jail | Houston & Texas News | – Houston Chronicle.

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