April 12, 2007

Break Another Little Piece of My Door

by PG

Oh, to be writing an exam about press rights again...

[Port Arthur Precinct 8 Justice of the Peace Tom Gillam III] will be seeing a different side of the bench on April 23, as he makes an appearance as the plaintiff in a case filed against a local blogger.
Gillam filed a legal case Wednesday morning in the 58th District Court against Philip Klein, said Brent Coon, one of Gillamís two legal representatives.
"Philip Klein recently stated on the website 'Southeast Texas Political Review 2007' that Gillam recently engaged in an inappropriate sexual act with a woman at the (Port Arthur) courthouse," a statement released Wednesday by Coon and Beaumont attorney Gerald W. Eddins on Gillam's behalf, read. [Question: what would be an appropriate sexual act in which to engage at a courthouse?]
"Klein further stated in the same article that an employee walked in on Judge Gillam during the alleged act, became upset and left the courthouse in a manner that caused a glass door to break. This story is patently false, malicious and defamatory."
Coon said Gillam is seeking unspecified damages from Klein and Klein Investments, Inc. of Nederland for the "damage done to his reputation and good name of his family."
The judge's version of how the glass door broke is reported here. Personally, I just want to sue SETX Political Review for inflicting emotional distress through heinous web design.

Another great fact pattern, albeit one that is unlikely to survive under American law: a British judge has put a gag order regarding the name of a pedophile and child pornographer, on the ground that publicizing it would have a negative effect on the convicted man's daughters. Speaking of sex offenders, there's a trashier version of The Graduate playing in Pennsylvania.

Smith said Wednesday she didn't encourage the [then 14-year-old] victim to skip school. She said he dropped out to pursue a Spanish rap career but "that never happened for him." The affair fell apart in 2004 when the [then-17-year-old] victim and Smith's teenage daughter began developing feelings for one another. Those feelings later evolved into a physical relationship and Smith's daughter became pregnant. Smith, a native of the Bronx, N.Y., disapproved of the relationship and notified police after learning of the pregnancy. Police conducted an investigation but filed no charges against the teen because there was less than a four-year age difference between the victim and Smith's teenage daughter. It was through that investigation police learned Smith was having sex with the victim and she was charged in April 2006.
Meanwhile, the British tabloids may be learning not to settle before a thorough discovery period, and we finally can know that ... they really are using those library record subpoenas, albeit for the internets rather than for books. April 12, 2007 12:32 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Ouch - you do not like our design?

Philip R. Klein Editor

Posted by: Philip R. Klein at April 20, 2007 11:52 PM

I think you have a great concept with regard to focusing on local politics -- many commentators have said that this is really what "citizen journalism" is supposed to be about. In particular, having mp3s available of the last radio show you've done is excellent. And clearly you're successfully annoying the area powerful.

But yes, the web design is terrible. Unless the website is solely intended as advertising for Klein and Associates Political Relations/ Klein Investments, Inc., there's no reason to have that and the PO Box and phone number be the first thing that a visitor to the site sees.

1) Standard web design would put at the bottom of the page pretty much everything that you've put at the top: the statcounter, sponsor name, contact info, etc.

2) There are no permanent links to the individual articles and editorials. Suppose I want to direct my readers to your editorial "The Offer." There's not really any way I can get them directly to it. You seem to change the content on the URL http://www.setpoliticalreview.com/edtitorial.htm regularly, so there's no stable way to see "The Offer."

3) Confusion between news and opinion. Today's "top story" on Sheryl Crow is really an editorial, yet it is not categorized with the other editorials. SETPR is not breaking a story here -- it is copying information from the national media and commenting on it.

4) Copyediting slows down the process of getting the message out, but it goes a long way to making a website look more professional and thus more likely to be taken seriously. The Sheryl Crow remarks are rife with grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors. No matter how good a point the writer is making, if I am an educated person who judges others based on their literacy (as most people do -- hence the social bias against Ebonics and other non-standard forms of English), then I am not going to bother reading this article because I will quickly dismiss the author as too careless to be likely to have informed, well-thought-out ideas.

Posted by: PG at April 23, 2007 01:18 PM

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19759663&BRD=2287&PAG=461&dept_id=512588&rfi=6

Sexual misconduct story retracted after libel suit
By COLIN GUY, The Beaumont Enterprise
06/10/2008

More than a year after running a story alleging sexual misconduct by a Jefferson County judge, the owner of a local Web site has said he does not believe the incident took place.

Advertisement


Philip Klein, owner of Southeast Texas Political Review, was sued for libel in April 2007 after his site published a story citing anonymous sources who alleged a woman walked in on Justice of the Peace Tom Gillam having sex in his office.

In a tersely worded press release, Klein said his Web site is "committed to hearing all sides of any story" and that after "Judge Gilliam (sic) provided the Review his information, this matter, including the lawsuit, was amicably resolved."

A posting on Klein's Web site further stated that since investigating the allegations, the Review discovered numerous inaccuracies. The posting also said "at least one" of the original sources had been lying and might "have had a political agenda towards the judge in an attempt to run for the Judge's office."

Gillam told The Enterprise that video surveillance footage confirmed that the story was not true.

"Philip Klein has now issued a retraction of the original story," he said. "This is part of Mr. Klein and ourselves resolving our differences and the lawsuit."

Posted by: Colin Guy at June 12, 2008 10:02 AM
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