Can of Worms

Update: Republic reports case dropped, Wilenchik dismissed. The Star has coverage by Howard Fisher.

If this doesn’t define what “opening a can of worms” means, I don’t know what does.

I suppose many of “our” names will show up on the list of people who have visited the New Times website over the last few years.


Comments

  1. This type of information is readily available to anyone that owns a website. It looks to me that if you go into to court and claim NT posted something on their site illegally, then you also might want to have proof that some people visited the site and were served the information. Can’t do that without the website IP logs from NT, hence the subpoena for them and the information that is logged alongside that. Now no one’s name is actually attached to any of those numbers, and it would take some aggressive further information to do so.

  2. I am no fan of New Times. I have seen up close the ugly way they twist facts to fit their preconceived notions.

    In addition, Mike Lacy is a sleaze bag who has left a trail of broken bodies in his wake as he built a lot of wealth for himself.

    Having said all that, I will do everything possible to defend him, and New Times, against this assault on a free and unfettered press.

  3. On advice of council I am invoking my 5th Amendment right not to comment.

  4. Think about the reason grand jury proceedings are secret. Protects the accused, and the witnesses, etc. Neither you nor I nor even a journalist involved in grand jury proceedings has a right to violate the law. Try to separate what you think about the NT from your view of who gets to violate the established procedural rules of the court and grand jury. And then separate our your abstractions about what free speech and press i,s and you just may find there are some reasonable limits on both, and they have been well-adjudicated.

  5. No doubt this information is out there; the Republic has stats on everything from the kind of toilet paper used to typical bedtimes. Yes, our computers tell a story to anyone we touch with our ISP address. It is our digital fingerprint with a direct line to our private and personal lives. But, unless the actual ISP address is linked somehow to the owner’s name there is no way to tell that “Sam Jones” looked at porn just before reading an article about good ‘ol Joe.

    Not that all of that makes me feel any better. Since we have no idea why this information is necessary I would have to agree with Sam, this slippery slope has me very disturbed.

  6. This is going into my Russ Jones “what the heck is Andy Thomas thinking?” file. He is a stand up guy who is doing good serious work 99% of the time, and then he’ll take a flyer on some crazy stuff like this. Is it rogue employees or is he really giving the okay on these adventures?

  7. Read the story John, Thomas was the one who dropped it and it sounds like it was an out of control special prosecutor who was doing these things. Kudos to Thomas for stopping this before it got any worse.

  8. Ah, okay, got it… Still doesn’t explain the Russ Jones thing though.

  9. The New Times still sucks says

    I’m a libertarian and not a fan of Andrew Thomas, but this looked pretty clear cut to me. I watched the press coverage tonight, and the New Times freaks looked like sleazebags – drinking whiskey at work, saying they’d break the law AGAIN and release confidential grand jury information again, publish the sheriff’s home address, slapping themselves on the back for breaking the law. Reminded me of Larry Flynt – who wants to defend someone that disgusting? Everyone knows the New Times is composed mainly of journalists who have been canned from the Republic or more reputable newspapers for things like violating ethical rules that include making up false stories. Talk to anyone who’s had anything written about them in that garbage newspaper (so bad they have to give it away), and they’ll tell you half the article is false and the other half is distorted so much it’s changed the meaning. It’s really too bad they’re allowed to continue publishing lie after lie after lie. I’m all for free speech, but it would take oodles and oodles of time and money to go through and refute every single lie that embarrassing publication puts out. As for Thomas’s overreaching prosecutor, it sounds like he didn’t know what he was doing asking for IP addresses, but come on people, there are websites that allow you to view their stats without a password JUST LIKE THIS ONE! It’s public information. And I guarantee you in 50 years no one will be disputing this issue, the way we’re going, all that kind of information is becoming public regardless of whether we like it or not. I for one am not a fan of making that information accessible, and believe that consumers need to be aware of those who would invade our privacy and use programs that protect our identity. But it seems this is not going to be the landbreaking case deciding that. Thomas’s special prosecutor was before his time, unfortunately for him. Weighing what the New Times did by breaking the law publishing the Sheriff’s home address, and then breaking the law by publishing confidential grand jury information, versus what Mr. Thomas’s specialty counsel did in asking for IP addresses of visitors to the website, I don’t see how someone could come down on the side of the sleazebag “journalists.” The New Times is out of control and sadly this is not going to be the opportunity to stop them from breaking the law repeatedly. Mr. Thomas did the right thing and backed off – do you see the New Times backing off of their insistence to continue breaking the law?

  10. Right on, The New Times Still Sucks. It’s amusing reading the leftwing blogs and commenters as they try to defend the New Times. Publications like the New Times and extremist groups like the ACLU ruin it for the rest of us, by pretending to protect “rights” but what they’re really doing is distorting the definition of “rights” to allow criminal activity to infringe upon the legitimate rights of the rest of us. They’re gradually eliminating our rights. It’s now ok to defame someone with lies in print and the victim has little recourse thanks to extremists like New Times and the ACLU. Have you seen any of the leftwing magazines or blogs criticizing the New Times over their criminal behavior in this? Of course not. They overlook criminal activity in order to pursue their agenda, which is to treat people as if they all behave equally. Problem is, people don’t behave equally. You can’t treat corrupt people the same way as everyone else, you have to punish criminal behavior. Leftwingers are living in a fantasy world that will never exist as long as man is imperfect. I’ll be the first to post a comment here as soon as I see one of those leftwing organizations or blogs denounce the New Times for criminal acts. It ain’t gonna happen.

  11. Prosecutorial overreach. Plain and simple. The Grand Jury system is a powerful tool for prosecutors, but we must depend on a certain level of judiciousness on the part of the prosecutor to ensure that it is used with validity. Whether Thomas knew or not is up for debate. The relationship of his former firm with the County must now be scrutinized, as should the alliance between Arpaio and Thomas which now seems intent to seek out and intimidate critics of various stripes. I don’t read New Times, but must admit that when they took the risk of revealing contents of the subpoena, they were acting with courage. They don’t need to say a thing about the grand jury. We all came to our own conclusion that the subpoena was an overreach and smacks to me of a dangerous, self-protective instinct (politically speaking) on the part of the County Attorney and Sheriff’s office.

  12. Can I recommend a better link that has the entire press conference, start to finish, in four segments?

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1020newtimes1020.html

    I hope people try to understand the purpose of a grand jury, its secrecy, and the role of the judge who issues the subpoena. Those are some of the institutional checks on prosecutorial abuse. Public outcry is not really one of them, but it may have helped in this case.

    I saw a lot of overreaction on the part of the sheriff, the New Times, the “special” prosecutor, and the media and a bunch of pundits as well. Good to see Thomas exhibit some sobering heroism and put the kaibash on the whole thing.

    The funniest thing is that the New Times suddenly fancies itself as original and hard-hitting “journalism” that “you can’t get anywhere else.” I hope the Pulitzer prize committee is told that their legal defense for publishing Arpaio’s “private” information is “the information is already widely available.”

  13. kralmajales says

    Oh this is funny, like Thomas didn’t know and it was a rogue “special” prosecutor? That is a joke. I am sure that the Arizona Bar will do the type of investigation that will need to be done on this one.

    He takes credit for everything that his prosecutors do. He is the first to argue that he is in charge. I am sorry, but “special” prosecutors have special status and work on special important investigations. I would bet you that in such investigations, Mr. Thomas would not only be breifed daily, but would also be making the calls.

    Typical. To me, this is no different than Barbara Lawall arguing that she had no knowledge of what her prosecutors were doing with regard to Stidham.

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