Thursday, December 10, 2009
Star Editorial On Traffic Court Lawsuit Has A Vindictive Ring
An editorial in today's Star to a class action lawsuit filed by local attorney and fellow blogger Paul Ogden has more of a vindictive ring to it than a well-reasoned opinion piece one would expect from the state's largest newspaper. The editorial describes Ogden as a "gadfly." In case you were wondering, it's not a compliment to be called a gadfly. It's another way of describing someone you consider to be a pest. Begrudgingly, the editorial acknowledges that fines imposed by parties who fight and lose their case are excessive, but it's completely dismissive of the merits of Ogden's lawsuit. "Their lawsuit, captained by gadfly attorney Paul Ogden, accuses Judge Bill Young of discriminating against contesting defendants for the sake of crowd reduction," the editorial proclaims. That's a rather simplistic, over-generalization of the lawsuit. The editorial continues, "At least one constitutional law expert told The Star there's nothing 'unethical' about Young's posting of a sign warning ticket-holders of up to $500 in additional fines." Uh, the lawsuit isn't a case about legal ethics; it's a case about a defendant's constitutional rights to a free and open courtroom without excessive fines and punishments. The identity of the Star's "constitutional law expert" is not disclosed. It is astonishing indeed that a major newspaper would totally ignore the policy of closing the doors to a courtroom to everyone but defendants and their attorneys. It looks to me like this editorial was written for the purpose of showing the editors disdain for Ogden rather than discussing the merits of the lawsuit.