10 years ago I posted my first blog on here. 1,322 posts later we’re still going strong. Not as strong as I used to- I post much less frequently nowadays between keeping busy with the job and growing kids that have gotten involved in all kinds of activity. Thanks to everyone that has sent me post ideas over the years, I wish I could have written a post for all of them. WordPress tells me I’ve had over 285,000 page views and over 180,000 unique visitors, which is kind of crazy.
I thought the anniversary might be a good time for a little trip down memory lane.
My all time most viewed post was a legal update: “”Important Changes to Florida’s DUI Laws: Legistlative Update 2013“
Some of the more popular subjects over the years were Zimmerman, Amanda Knox, NFL Cheerleaders, and Ashley Toye (of the Cash Feenz cases). Also, the Sievers case got a lot of attention, though it didn’t seem to have the national appeal that drove up numbers on the others.
One of my favorite subjects was the shark trial, where a man claimed self-defense for taking a shark: “The Shark Trial Recap“
Self-defense has been one of the more interesting repeat topics we’ve discussed on crimcourts, probably in part due to timing. I started writing this not too long after the Stand Your Ground Law has been enacted, and the Florida courts have been a trying ground for that policy. Also, being Florida, we’ve seen self-defense claimed for Bears, the aforementioned shark, and even an iguana.
Sometimes I like to think it would be fun to do videos, but I really don’t have the time. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to spend on the blog, as it has been fun, but I’ll keep posting whenever I can find time so follow me here and on Twitter.
Posted in Florida, Whimsy
Tagged alligators, amanda knox, crimcourts, dui, george zimmerman, iguana, new laws, sarah jones, shark, theresa sievers
Molly Shattuck (Right) with the Ravens Cheerleaders
Molly Shattuck, who gained some fame 10 years ago as the older cheerleader in the NFL at 38-years-old, entered a plea in her sex offense case. She pleaded guilty to performing a sex act on a boy who was 15-years-old at the time. She was accused, basically, of giving him a blow job and some other counts of providing alcohol to minors, which have been dropped. Sentencing is several weeks away, where it is anticipated that she will ask the court not to sentence her to incarceration, since she is a first-time offender. She will be designated as a sex-offender, and must report for at least 25 years.
This offense is a felony, unlike the misdemeanor former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones pled to a couple years ago.
Ex-Ben-Gal Sarah Jones
We’ve been busy around these parts and haven’t gotten to keep the blog as current as I’d like. I did want to take a brief moment and update on a case that we’ve followed extensively on Crimcourts, that of former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones. In addition to the criminal case related to the affair she had with one of the students she taught, she also had a defamation case against theDirty.com and its proprietor, Nik Ritchie. She was awarded a $300 thousand-plus judgment at trial, but this week an appellate court ruled that Mr. Ritchie was not liable for the postings of outside commentors. This is an important protection of Freedom of the Press for all websites, this one included, that mean that the publisher is not liable for the defamation of outside/ 3rd parties. The court confirmed that Ms. Jones was defamed by the comments on theDirty, but since theDirty did not post them, they were not liable.
Former Bengal Cheerleader Sarah Jones
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones successfully sued theDirty.com publisher Nik Richie for rumors posted on his website. She was awarded over $300,000 by a Kentucky jury on the civil suit. The case will be heard today by the Federal Appellate court in Cincinnati. What’s at issue, and why the case is being watched by internet publishers everywhere, is the liability of the website for content that was not posted by theDirty, rather by internet commentors. The appellate decision will have far-reaching implications for internet publisher’s potential liability for third-party contributors. A decision probably won’t be handed down for several months.
Jones also made news for her relationship with a student for whom she was a teacher. She was convicted of a related misdemeanor in that case. Crimcourts has had extensive coverage of the Jones cases: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/category/ohio/sarah-jones/
UPDATE: Cincinnati.com has more on the 1st Amendment implications of the court’s decision on this case.
Posted in Civil, Criminal Law, Federal, First Amendment, Ohio, Sarah Jones
Tagged bengals, cheerleader, cincinnati, defamation, kentucky, nik richie, sarah jones, sexcrime, thedirty
Former Bengals Cheerleader Sarah Jones
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones, (a cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals), won her defamation suit today in Federal Court in Northern Kentucky. The jury awarded her $338,000.00 for the harm to her reputation. The case is extremely noteworthy from a tech and journalistic point of view, because the judge ruled that thedirty.com and operator Nik Richie were not immune from liability for third-party comments. The judge distinguished the site because Richie solicited the comments and responded with more of his own. Essentially, the court found that he could be liable since he was involved in the comments, and the jury found him liable as well. However, the jury did not award Ms. Jones the multimillion-dollar verdict that Jones’ attorney Eric Deters asked for with the intent of putting the website out of business. Collecting on this judgment will still be a challenge for Jones and Deters.
Former Ben-Gal, Sarah Jones, is going back to court in her defamation suit against thedirty.com. The case went to trial several months ago, and ended in a hung jury. The second trial starts over from scratch, and promises to ratchet up the excitement. Among Ms. Jones’ witnesses are former Bengal kicker Shayne Graham, while thedirty has listed her ex-husband and the detective who investigated her criminal case. Additionally, her attorney Eric Deters is fighting a suspension for unrelated sanctions by the bar. Since he is challenging the suspension, he is still able to practice law and try the case. It’s got everything: sex, pro sports, and betrayal. Jones’ attorney is asking for a judgment large enough to shut down the website, but has the substantial task of proving harm to the reputation of his client, whose reputation has suffered major public setbacks. It should be fun to follow.
Former Cincinnati Ben-Gal Sarah Jones lost her teaching job and was convicted of some criminal misdemeanors for an illicit affair she conducted with one of her former (adult) students. It appears that the story may have a happy ending, as the Enquirer reports that she and the beau are now engaged. Young love! It began with a rocky start, but let’s hope it works out for the couple.
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones
The jury deadlocked after their second day of deliberation in the former Bengal cheerleader Sarah Jones’ defamation case against TheDirty.com and it’s owner, Nik Richie. According to wcpo.com, the jury was 9-1 in Jones’ favor, though this would only indicate liability, not what amount would be awarded. I have previously speculated that even if TheDirty is found liable, the 11 million dollars requested seems exhorbitant. Jones’ attorney, Eric Deters, has previoiusly indicated he would try the case again if the jury deadlocked. The results of this trial will have little to no bearing on any retrial of the case.
The jury is now deliberating whether TheDirty.com is liable for defamation for the posts about her. She is seeking $11 million in damages. The jury could be back this afternoon, or it could continue late this evening or even another day.
UPDATE: The jury has not reached a verdict today, and has broken for the night. They will be back to deliberate tomrrow:
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones
TheDirty.com blogger known as Nik Richie testified today, as did Ms. Jones. Regardless whether he is liable for the comments of others, Ms. Jones will have a difficult time proving damages, as today she testified that she did not lose either job after the post was made. She is almost certainly a public figure, providing Mr. Richie more leeway for commentary, and a higher burden on her to prove her case. Also, she could come across as greedy for asking for 11 million dollars. She may be entitled to some money for the harm to her reputation, but not 11 million dollars. This case is essentially unrelated to her criminal case for sleeping with her student.