Cox was ruled that she had to stand trial twice because she was accused of defamation against a financial company. She was a blogger who wrote entries about the company including statements about fraud and conspiracy. In the first trial she was found guilty because she had no proof that what she wrote was true. The first court ruled that as long as one of her posts appeared defamatory then she was found guilty. The financial company’s attorney argued that she was ruining the company’s reputation. When she asked for a different trial in a different court she was able to reverse the charges and she was found not guilty. The new court ruled that the matter was of public concern so the blogger Cox had the right to write about it even though she was not a journalist.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals In S.F. said that former blogger Cox, deserved a new trail despite the fact she had lost the trail in 2011 were she had made blog posts with allegations accusing attorney Obsidian Finance group of tax fraud. Steven Wilker an attorney for Obsidian stated to the 9th Circuit Court that there was no dispute on Cox’s post being false therefore the Court entitled the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and ruled that she could not be libel for defamation unless she had acted negligently.
On January 24, 2014 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that a former blogger Crystal Cox who was being sued over some allegations she blogged about a former attorney, is indeed protected by the same free speech rights that Journalist and news media receive.
Therefore the lawsuit was found not Liable for defamation unless negligence was found and formed a part into the allegations made. The decision made was found controversial because it delt with free speech, bloggers all around, and their rights. At the time the blog post was created Cox had lost the lawsuit because Obsidian (former attorney) did not have to prove that Cox showed negligence when the lower court ruled that but that changed when The Ninth Circuit Court ruled differently and made a decision based on a precedent that was previously set by the Supreme Court.
This article found online accessed on 08/6/14 stated that on Friday January 24,2014 In a Federal Appelle court It was ordered that for the first time “Bogs” would get to enjoy the First Amendment protection from Libel suits as traditional news media does. This all came live to court after an issue that a blogger posted on her site accusing a former attorney and his firm Obsidian group finance group of misconduct in connection with his role as a trustee in a bankruptcy case.
However the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit viewed things differently and stated that the bloggers allegations were of “public interest” and to be sued the attorney would have to prove negligence the same as when news media is being sued.
Therefore the Federal Appelle Court stated that journalist and bloggers are the same with equal when it comes down to the First Amendment. In this particular case The Ninth Circuit confirmed and suited to toss out all Libel claims against the blogger despite all her allegations the court came to a decision that her claims and allegations were so absurd no one could take them seriously and it wouldn’t be the basis of a Lawsuit.
“Why haven’t we professionalized journalism…?” Why, indeed.. – Ellen Diamond
As of January 24th, 2014; it was recognized by the federal courts that the Cox defamation case which was unjustly lost in 2011, the courts ruled that bloggers and writers should have the same rights as a traditional journalist. Crystal Cox is known as the notorious blogger who created numerous domain names and wrote posts bashing and exposing company’s reputations, then offering to fix them at a price. The question at hand is wither the decision from the 9th circuit court of appeals means for the first amendment and what that means online and if it matters that Cox is a defendant.
Because of first amendment rights, americans are able to freely express themselves in any way they’d like, of course, the intent of the matter can be regulated by the government if it proves that it was done in malicious intent or Defamation.
In the example of cases in supreme court rulings of Gertz v. Robert WelchCourt ; Bartnicki v. Vopper; Cohen v. Cowles Media Co.; First National Bank of and Boston v. Bellotti etc., “We [USSC] have consistently rejected the proposition that the institutional press has any constitutional privilege beyond that of other speakers. (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission)”.
The article goes on to say journalism hasn’t been professionalized in the same way that any other profession would be. As of now, anyone can claim to be a professional journalist without being held responsible or liable for their work. Guidelines to professionalism are not being upheld, therefore morals, values of work and guidelines are not being respected. The article goes on to suggest that one is not a professional unless an articulate rate of standard is set out and followed.
The decision came in a defamation lawsuit where the panel ordered a new trial in the case of Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Montana. Cox was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick and his company, Obsidian Finance Group LLC, after she wrote about what she viewed as fraud, corruption, money-laundering and other illegal activities. Patrick and Obsidian were hired by Summit Accommodators, which had defrauded investors. Padrick and Obsidian advised Summit before a filing for bankruptcy and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court later appointed Padrick trustee in the Chapter 11 case.
A decision was made in the US court of appeals for the 9th circuit that ruled that bloggers were entitled to the same rights as journalists. Government officials have fought against the protection in a federal new shield law, but the decision was relavent in the Obsidian finance group vs. Cox case.
The decision was part of a derformation case of blogger Cox who was found guilty of deformation, and later ordered to new trial. Cox wrote against the Obsidian Co, and alleged corruption, fraud, tax crimes, money laundering etc on an article intitled “Obsidiansucks”
After investigation it was found that all but one of Cox’s allegations were protected. The allegation that implied that the Co. owed money in unpaid taxes made fairly specific allegations that readers could easily understand. “fairly specific allegations [that] a reasonable reader could understand . . . to imply a provable fact assertion”—i.e., that Padrick, in his capacity as bankruptcy trustee, failed to pay $174,000 in taxes owed by Summit.” This posting was allowed to trial, and the jury ruled in favor of Obsidian and 1.5 million plus an additional 1 million in damages of deformation was awarded to the co. The ruling was based on the fact that Cox was not able to submit evidence of her status as a journalist, as well as the controversy of public controversy and reckless regard that was created. The court later goes on to rule that this is a matter of public concern.
The district court’s jury cannot find Cox liable for defamation unless it found that she acted negligently. Also, a guilty verdict cannot be awarded along with presumed damages unless it found that Cox acted with actual malice.
Gregg Leslie of the reporters committee for the freedom of the press Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists; “It’s not a special right to the news media,” he said. “So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others.” Due to the first amendment and libel, cox is protected by the same free speech rights as Journalist and news media.
This article published in 2011 involves a blogger named blogger Crystal Cox who was being sued over a post she wrote accusing a bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of tax fraud. Due to the protection of the first amendment rights, the lawsuit is not libel in the court of law, unless there is proof of defamation.
Cox was accused and lost the case on deformation when she blogged about accused Obsidian finance group of tax fraud. She was found guilty by a lower court when she couldn’t show proof of her status as a journalist. The 9th court ruling at the circuit court of appeals in San Francisco later stepped in and granted Cox another trial, because Cox was not a traditional journalist in this case didn’t matter. Their main purpose in the case is proving if Cox was liable for defamation and giving Cox to right to be retried for more clarity.