Tommy Garrett Subpoenas

Chicken farmer and faux celebrity Tommy Garrett has subpoenaed me for evidence in his lawsuit against The Hook. In the incredibly overbroad subpoena, his attorney asks for full documentation about any time I have ever communicated with anybody, ever, about Garrett or the lawsuit, along with everything I know about everybody who posted a comment to my blog entry about the case: names, e-mail address, IP addresses, etc. The idea that I could have any information relevant to this case is absurd, since I hadn’t written a word about the matter (or even heard of Garrett) until after his lawsuit had been filed.

What Garrett and his attorney may not know is that I’ve got a bit of a history of not taking any guff on the legal front—I was among the plaintiffs who took the youth curfew case up to the Supreme Court in the mid-90s, and I prevailed when Mattel came after me in federal court in 2000. So rest assured that I don’t intend to give up a thing unless compelled to do so by a court. Unfortunately, “hiring a lawyer to quash a subpoena” doesn’t appear in our household budget, so I’m acting as my own attorney here. But, hey, I’ve been exploring getting a law degree, so here’s a chance for a crash course. The requested information appears to be variously irrelevant, unnecessary to the case, confidential, and privileged.

I’d chalked up Garrett as a harmless kook, and pitied the guy enough that I’d resolved to basically ignore this matter save to cover the aspect of a local media outlet being sued. But my perspective is now considerably less charitable.

89 thoughts on “Tommy Garrett Subpoenas”

  1. What crazy lawyer takes this case for Garrett? Doesn’t he/she feel nervous about sanctions?

  2. Waldo, here’s my IP address, to save you the trouble:

    ISP: Comcast Cable
    Organization: Comcast Cable
    Proxy: None detected
    Type: Cable/DSL

    I’m sure Comcast will provide my personal info posthaste.

    My email and actual personal info? That will require a court order. See you there! This could be fun (except not, and a waste of time.)

  3. What a loon. I’d think it was funny if Garret hadn’t crossed the line into inconveniencing and obnoxious.

  4. No way! Go Waldo Go! I hope you have fun – even though it sounds like a bit of a time killer. Let me know if you need any help. I have zero legal skills but am still willing to help if needed.

  5. Once again, some moron filing lawsuits, just because they can. How many other kooks out there have filed lawsuits and subpoenaed records from the Hooks blogs, cvillenews, etc? Do we know?

  6. I thought this guy was a PR specialist. Is this part of the PR machine? And if so, what am I missing?

    Please forward all my mail to Attys. Dewey, Cheetham and Howe.

  7. Waldo, if you have to put up a pay pal acount to pay for this nonsense I would drop in some cash. This is BS and I hope you counter sue for damages.

  8. Help me understand if this analogy is accurate: imagine Waldo owns a club or a bar at which members of the public like to spend time talking. The Hook does a story on Tommy Garrett, and the people at Waldo’s Place read that story in The Hook and discuss it one night at Waldo’s Place. Tommy Garrett decides to sue the Hook over it’s story, and as part of the lawsuit he demands that Waldo furnish the names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc., of everyone who was in the bar that night talking about the Hook story AND the security camera recordings of everything those people said.

    Is that accurate as an analogy? And if it is, is that not fricking absurd? Who would demand that a bar-owner (a private business owner) furnish private information about patrons in his business as well as records of their conversations?

  9. Cecil, it’s all about libel. Any person can be held accountable for any remark they make in The Hook Bar or in Waldo’s Bar. A person has no freedom of speech when their spoken or printed words are libelous to another person. I myself have successfully sued two people so far who made absurd and extremely libelous remarks about me in public forums. And while the two I sued felt they were expressing their opinion via their “freedom of speech”, they were taught differently real quickly. Plus interest until paid in full.
    And Waldo, you mention the fact you don’t intend to give up a thing unless compelled to do so by a court. Be very careful and examine the subpoena thoroughly. I suspect the subpoena was issued by a court and is a legal court order on it’s face. If this is the case, you can’t simply ignore it and hope it goes away.

  10. Cecil, it’s all about libel. Any person can be held accountable for any remark they make in The Hook Bar or in Waldo’s Bar.

    Nobody’s accused me or anybody here of libel. I think Cecil’s example is a good one.

    I suspect the subpoena was issued by a court and is a legal court order on it’s face. If this is the case, you can’t simply ignore it and hope it goes away.

    Well, no. :) I might not be an attorney, but I’m also not insane. :)

  11. Hey Demo/Sick- Isn’t it true that in your cases that the reason you won the suits is because the parties did not show up for court or respond to the suit? Tell the truth now, because this is public record.

  12. I wonder what the cusine and beverage service would be like at Waldo’s Place? Grilled sole fish with sprouted moong and a nice Chardonnay? Or a shot and a beer with an order of Buffalo Wings? I vote for the latter.

  13. Although I am 100% repugs’ continuous attempt to disqualify litigation at the front entrance, this case shows why and how they have examples of bad use of courts.
    Give Garrett a nasty time Waldo. Let us know if we can help.

  14. Wow, this is amazingly stupid. Best of luck Waldo with this. I hope some of the attorneys here would offer some help for the public good. And if you can’t get the pro bono and need to hire counsel, definitely put up a paypal for a legal fund. Also talk to the Electronic Frontier Foundation ( as well as the ACLU. Both organizations help with this sort of thing, especially EFF.

    My opinion is that with this action, Garrett is showing what he is made of, his lack of character. At least that’s the impression I get. There, now sue me too. :-)

  15. I wrote a bit about that in the blog entry in question:

    Proving libel requires a) the complainant was identified b) the information was defamatory towards the complainant’s reputation c) the information was false, and d) it’s the respondent’s fault. But libel and slander case law (notably New York Times Co. v. Sullivan) has established a basically impossibly-high bar to clear to prove defamation against a famous figure: actual malice must be proved, meaning that the information must be published with reckless disregard for th truth. Garrett almost certainly qualifies as a public figure, given his TV appearances, books published (fiction and nonfiction), high-profile media coverage, etc., which means that the odds of him succeeding in such a lawsuit are vanishingly slim, even if The Hook published inaccurate information.

    In short, Garrett must argue that he is not, in fact, a famous figure. But that would require that he argue that The Hook is correct in their claims that he’s not famous. As a result, I can’t see any way that this case moves forward.

  16. Just found this “United States law dictates that for something to be considered libel it must be proven that the one making the libelous charges did so with malicious intent and with full knowledge that the statements were false. Furthermore personal opinion is protected as a First Amendment right. Therefore being careful to state the facts of a personal experience in non-malicious language, followed by words like, “therefore in my opinion…” will go a long way towards protecting yourself against charges of slander or libel.”

  17. To add to this, I also understand that speach is protected if no one could reasonably find it to be literally true. For example, you could say someone is a “slime-ball” because no one would really believe that someone was, in fact, a ball of slime.

  18. Demopublican: “Cecil, it’s all about libel.”

    No it isn’t, it’s about casting an absurdly wide net in a fishing expedition for evidence in a case to which neither Waldo, the site, nor anyone posting comments on that article are parties.

    Giving everyone with a legitimate claim his or her day in court is one thing, but Garrett is plainly in the habit of using the threat of groundless but expensive litigation to harrass and intimidate anyone who might say something he’d prefer they didn’t say, and that’s another thing altogether. Defamation law is meant to deter people from making harmful factual allegations they know to be untrue or unreliable, not to protect everyone from having their pwecious widdle feelings hurt.

  19. I love this from the Canyon News website, especially #2. Waldo has already written a bit about the connections among Garrett, Canyon News, and Roger Hitt here

    Declaration of Principles

    We promise:
    — To provide a community newspaper that tells all the news honestly without any political agenda, slant or spin.

    — To allow commentary writers the freedom to express their opinions and views without interruption, censorship, or persuasion.

    — To provide members of the community (rich or poor) with the truth and a place to voice their concerns.

    — To abstain from printing anything demeaning, calumniatory or potentially harmful to any living being.

    — To maintain the highest level of journalistic integrity.

    Things get really wacky if you search Amazon for “Tommy Lightfoot Garrett” There is a book on Buckingham County with a review that includes numerous mentions of how great Tommy Garrett is. That review was written by a “Jason Crawford,” of San Francisco, who when his profile is viewed seems to be none other than Tommy Garrett. John O’Dowd, who reviews Garrett’s books is a fellow BearManor Media author who likes to go into attack mode in hisnegative reviews in way that is remarkable similar in tone to Garrett.

    I wonder if Amazon has been sued. And did they have to turn over data about all of their users too? Ouch! “Give me my money back” one reviewer writes.

    I can’t imagine a judge is going to let this lawsuit go too far, but I’m willing to cough up a few bucks to the defense fund if it becomes necessary.

  20. When a subpoena requests information without regard to whether the information is relevant or privileged. You should first ask the requester to withdraw or modify the subpoena (ie. narrow the scope of the request). If they fail to do so, you then ask the court to quash or grant a protective order, because the subpoena is overbroad, sweeping for information without regard to relevance to the suit.

    There are many cases of overly broad subpoenas being quashed by the courts. The courts also take a dim view of these and have at times sanctioned the attorneys that request them.

  21. What strikes me funny is that the subpoena even requests the privileged information if you claim that the information is privileged. Wow!

    Anyway, since you are a Web Journalist, wouldn’t ALL of the information that is not public on your website be protected and therefore privileged?

  22. I know this is against the flow, but, knowing nothing about Mr. Garrett, I must say that it at least seems that he’s trying to live an interesting life. It’s not the same old same old birth school work death routine. It may all be BS, but it’s layers and layers. You go, boy!

  23. I don’t mean “you go, boy” in regards to the subpoena, of course, just to all the other stuff he has going on.

  24. Voice of Doom – no, see, it’s one thing to want to get out of the “ghetto”, but it’s another all together by doing it using whatever means. Life is about the journey, not the mansion you retire in.

  25. C’mon guys… get it together will you. All this talk about ghettos and stuff is wasting time. Waldo needs you all to pool your resources and do his homework for him. It’s a tricky business this law stuff and he’s bending over backwards, fighting the good fight for sodomy to be OK so he can’t do it all himself. When Waldo says JUMP, you guys better do it – or else he’ll write something about YOU too. You know he will. He’s got a blog and he ain’t afraid to use it.
    VoD, yes, Tommy IS living an interesting life and all through his own hard work, but some of your local ‘heroes’ would like to bring him down a peg or three. Why? Who knows? Maybe it’s just for ‘fun’.
    You can’t blame the KKK for what THEY do either. In the end, it’s just “a bunch of good ol’ boys, havin’ fun”. Where’s the harm in that you might ask.

  26. DUH… Gosh darn it Billy, you sure got me there. I never thought any of you Sherlocks would see through my crafty disguise. There’s no fooling the mental giants at Waldo’s World. Anyone else wanna say ‘Hi Tommy’ so we can get it out of the way and avoid the repetition? yawn

  27. Cville Eye
    Jan 28th, 2009 at 11:49 pm
    When was a ghetto created in Buckingham County?

    —> Since you spend some time there?

  28. I had no idea that Tommy was transgendered. At least thanks to this blog, he can now live proudly and publically as “Chloe”.

  29. I’m going to finally stick my two cents in here, something I haven’t really done up until now in the various Garrett threads in local blogs. I conducted a business transaction with Tommy several years ago. There was no ill intent or deception from Tommy in way way whatsoever. It was an easy and pleasant transaction, with him and I both living up to our end of the agreement. I really can’t understand why so many people have such a negative attitude towards Tommy. And as far as the lawsuits, depositions and subpoenas, let the chips fall where they may. If he feels his reputation and character has been damaged, I support him 100% in his having a competent court hear his claims. He and his attorney, like every other citizen in this country, has the right to exercise the tools to guarantee himself a fair and impartial trial. If one of these tools is determining the identity of who said what, more power to him – a power granted by the legal system of course. Libel is a pretty serious form of irreparable damage to one’s character and reputation. Been there, done that myself. I still have three $4 million dollar lawsuits pending which involve lible causing irreparable damage to my character and reputation in the community as one of many claims.

  30. I work for the Citizen Media Law Project ( at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. We create legal educational resources for bloggers, non-traditional journalists, and other online publishers, and we are also compiling a database of legal actions against bloggers and other “citizen media” creators. I’m interested in creating a database entry for and blogging about the subpoena you received.

    Toward that end, I was wondering if you could give me a little more information about the subpoena (as opposed to the attachment which is published online) — is there a return date on it (the date by which you’re required to respond)? Is there a notice in boldface informing you that you must inform the commenters whose identifying information has been requested (referencing a statute – Va. Stat. § 8.01-407.1)? Would you be willing to share a copy of the subpoena with me (I’d refrain from publishing it or redacting your personal information, if you wish.)

    Also, although the Citizen Media Law Project cannot take on clients or act as your lawyer, we may be able to help you find a media/internet lawyer who would be willing to take on your case on a pro bono basis. Would you be interested in that?

    Just FYI, last year a similar third-party subpoena involving a lawyer named Kathleen Seidel got a lot of attention, especially after the court sanctioned the lawyer who sent it. Here’s our database entry on the case —

  31. A small correction to what I wrote above — Kathleen Seidel, who was involved with a similar subpoena issue last year, is a blogger, not a lawyer.

  32. Sam – as you know, it is particularly important to support free speech and by extension, blogging, because it is often the only valid recourse and resource for the “average Joe”. Of course, it is equally important to not support blatant defamation w/o cause, and that’s why there’s got to be a legal environment to wade through it all.

    Unfortunately, the legal process we have is not up to the task and I hope one day we’ll see a specialized system, fair and equitable (?), to handle these case with expedited speed and efficiency due to its inherent competency and conception of fairplay.

  33. Sam, why choose the comments section in a blog as a place for communication of such information and questions? It would seem that a private email would be a far more appropriate first step. I suppose some notion of conducting business in the open could potentially have some merit but this just seems odd.

  34. There you go Sam… you can see for yourself what Tommy is up against. You try to do something nice to help out poor old Waldo and Chris immediately starts hinting that there’s something fake about you. If you want to help these tools out, be my guest but keep in mind that Tommy’s reaction was forced after 2 years of harassment by the likes of these.
    This isn’t about freedom of the blog, it’s about calling a person a crook and ruining his reputation by a guy who admits he doesn’t even know Tommy.

  35. Chris, Sam e-mailed me, too. I actually prefer to conduct such things out in the open—hence posting the subpoena publicly.

    “Chloe,” Chris didn’t say a word about Sam being “fake.” But you are a jackass and a fake, so there’s that. Luckily, the former is opinion and the latter is demonstrably true, so there’s nothing about that statement that’s actionable.

  36. Good to know, Waldo; totally makes sense then. As I noted (though skeptically, to be sure) conducting business out in the open might make some sense. I’m very glad to hear he emailed you, too. I’d have thought that it went without saying (especially since I didn’t say or write it) that I didn’t for a moment think Sam was a fake or was anything less than sincere.

    Chloe: “Tool?” Really? I think on the previous story/post/thread about “Tommy” on I made some comment about the whole thing being sad. Amazingly, it seems more sad now. Sad and desperate and pitiful.

  37. Rubbish! Chris’s comment can easily be interpreted the way I did. He called Sam’s method ‘odd’ as if a REAL offer could not possibly be made this way. Apparently my opinion doesn’t matter either. Gotta love that free speech you prattle on about.
    Sticks and stones, Waldo. Call me what you like. I’m not the one doing the suing. Actually I haven’t been called a jackass before. I kind of like it. Hmmm.. fake? What makes ME a fake? I am dedicated to defending my friend. How does that make me a fake? Ohhh.. you mean ‘Chloe’… well that’s not fake either, see. It’s not my name as I’ve said before. It’s an acronym that I find amusing when dealing with you lot. Cvillians take things so seriously.
    What did you think I meant, Chris? Tools are items used to get a job done. THAT’s what I meant. You guy s are so willing to jump to do Waldo’s bidding, and for what? What do you possibly get in return?
    Brace yourself Chris… I’m sure we haven’t hit rock bottom yet.

  38. Waldo, I’m trying to unsubscribe to this thread by I got this message “You may not access this page without a valid key” when I clicked on the link “Manage your subscriptions” below. Can you help me. This game is drying up my Dorian face.

  39. Sorry, Chloe, free speech only means you can say what you like. It doesn’t mean people will think what you say “matters”. Furthermore, a personal blog’s comments section isn’t governed by free speech. I’m sure you’ll just say I’m “jumping to do Waldo’s bidding” (whatever that is), but really I just understand basic law. Unlike, it seems, Mr. Garrett and his attorney.

  40. Funny: Garrett / Chloe is actually proving they are not in the slightest ‘famous’, because everyone knows any exposure is good exposure, except if you’re no one! Ipso facto.

    Also, Chloe, all you have demonstrated with your latest comment is that YOU interpret EVERYTHING as harassment and defamation. Again, just shows what kind of small-fry with latent “Folie des Grandeurs” disorder.

  41. Can anyone identify the suit pin in Tommy’s headshot on the perhaps official ( . . . you’ve been warned) website here?

    And what’s the movie poster in the background?

  42. Will M.

    Did you look at the reviewer profiles for Cosmic’s Adventures?

    Jason Crawford, is pretty clearly Tommy, or for some strange “cosmic” reason, his reviews are mostly if not all listed as being posted by Tommy Garrett.

    Frederick Dunn is a chicken farmer who actually has an interesting website with real useful chicken raising information. Coincidence that Tommy Garrett also raises chickens…?

    John Dowd is also of the “BearManor Media” stable and the numerous glowing reviews for his book “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story” are mostly 5 star reviews from people who have only reviewed a single book. That is with the exception of a great review by none other than the aforementioned “Jason Crawford,” who seems to think he is Garret himself.

    The other reviewers of “Cosmic’s Adventures” seem to mostly review books by Tommy Garrett.

    It is hard to know without someone doing some real investigation, but a huge amount of the interconnected stuff on the internet which is related to this seems to be the work of one or very few people. Maybe some more information will come out if this does go to trial.

    I’m really baffled by why someone with so much energy and obvious creativity would bother with such trivial crap. As wacky and sad as it all is though, it is oddly fascinating enough there may well be the makings of a good book in telling the story behind it all.

  43. wow… that’s a lot of effort expended to research all that. You could have been sharing quality time with your family instead. It’s almost like you work at the Hook or something. Then again, maybe I’m just suffering from a bad case of the majungas…
    By the way, ‘jung’, you are absolutely correct. I am in no way or ever have been famous, but with your help, the odds are increasing all the time.
    Keep up the good work.

  44. What’s really sad is that Tommy/Chloe is getting exactly what he wants here — i.e., attention. He doesn’t care if it’s positive attention or negative attention, he just wants to make sure that people are talking about HIM. And that’s precisely what we’re all doing. Sigh… Good luck to you, Waldo. The frauds and charlatans of this world need to be exposed for who they are and the truthtellers like you deserve our thanks and support.

  45. By the way, I think it was a beautiful thing that Steve Shiflett (Demopublican) rose to Tommy/Chloe’s defense. They really are made for each other.

  46. Sad, I was wondering earlier if Demopublican/Sick was the same person as Chloe/Tommy, but after thinking a bit about it, I concluded otherwise. I thought Sick’s comment a few weeks ago on the Hook site that said something to the effect of “most people here know who I am,” as if most people actually cared, was a lot like Tommy’s apparent belief that any one cares enough to conspire against him. We may be seeing the signs here of the first disease caused by the internet.

    Chloe(T), I wasn’t kept from my family at all, far from it. We all sat around and had a night of great laughs reading fake book reviews to one another. My kids did a great job of finding stuff I had missed. My family all thinks Waldo has a great forum here and if we can find information that might be help him keep it going unmolested, we think that’s the least we can do to help out. The internet is a great tool for collaborative truth seeking. That’s part of why I check in here on a regular basis.

  47. Where are my manners? Thankyou Demopublican for speaking up about your pleasant experience dealing with Tommy. You experienced what most people experience when dealing with him. You must have known you’d be flamed for it, yet you did it anyway. What a guy! You would appear to be in the unique position here of knowing what it’s like to be falsely accused and copping the flack from the know-it-all brigade on blogs like this. Tommy has nothing to hide. He wants justice done just the same as you do and I wish you the greatest success in your endeavors. I’ll be sure to tell him there is a speck of light in the darkness of Cville. These people attacking Tommy are ill-informed at the very least. They don’t think so, but they are. It’ll all come out in the wash shortly. The clock is ticking…

  48. W&W, you must have a wonderful family life, teaching your kids how to hate a man they’ve never met based on the hearsay of others you’ve probably also never met. When your kids have grown weary of reading out the BIG words for you, maybe you can read them Wacky Waldo’s Guide to Sodomy. That should give them a real big laugh too. You can joke about Tommy’s book reviews till your cow comes home but it doesn’t affect me… they’re not my books. What it does prove is that the Hook’s original articles and Waldos extension of them have caused people (and you) to attack Tommy based on the false image of what he must be like thanks to said articles. Sadly, even if Tommy wins his case, all the die-hard supporters of Waldo and the Hook will refuse to believe Tommy was right all along. Somehow it’ll be Waldo and his bosom buddy Hawes who have suffered injustice.

  49. Don’t you worry your little head now “Chloe” because Tommy is a professional in the art of “victimhood”. He’s going to USE THE TOOLS at his disposal to redirect the general public sympathies toward him so that he can (at least in his own mind) obtain satisfaction at being the “invincible victim”.

    “Chloe” it seems your “service” to Tommy must keep your hands free to type an awful lot. LOL!!! :)

  50. Tommy, you do realize that many of your comments about me are libelous, subject to both discovery and legal action…don’t you? The fact that you are simultaneously subpoenaing me in a libel case and making libelous accusations against both me and the subject of your lawsuit is a bit stunning.

    Luckily for the both of us, I don’t care. It would be one thing if you were accusing me of something actually defamatory, because there was a chance that people might believe it was true. (Like when you accused the mortician of sexually violating corpses.) That would actually be harmful. The foolishness that you’re slinging around only makes you look like a dope. Happily, you’re so disconnected from reality that you can’t realize that.

  51. I forgot all about “Chloe’s” insinuation that Waldo and Hawes are gay lovers. I haven’t heard that sort of retort since my days at Walker Upper-Elementary. Given how amused I was by that 5th grade throwback, I’d suggest “Chloe” switch from chicken farming to comedy, but it’s a bit of a handicap to think your made-up stories are true rather than just entertaining.

  52. Yes Chloe, I am condemned in local blogs if I say anything bad about anybody. And I am condemned in local blogs if I say anything good about anybody as well. A few people love to hate me, no matter what I say. And a few really get offended knowing I speak the truth when I talk.

    Sad Situation, do you have a reading comprehension problem? I defended Tommy Garrett’s right to seek justice through the courts if he feels he has been damaged in any way by anybody. The steps in this justice process include subpoenas, discovery, depositions, hearings, judge or jury trial, etc… IMHO,the subpoena to Waldo is pretty much seeking to identify anonymous people hiding behind new and random screen names they create day to day, people who seem to think they can spew about whatever they want to say on the Internet, ya know, their alleged “freedom of speech.” I can understand why Waldo might be a tad upset or concerned, because answering the subpoena is a royal PITA. But why are the rest of you little new and anonymous screen names every day so upset? Do you have something to hide? Once some of the bloggers are identified, they are most likely going to end up sitting in the Buckingham Circuit Court courthouse all day awaiting their depositions being taken. Then they could very well spend another two or three days (or longer) in the same courthouse once a subpoena is issued for them to appear at the actual trial in the lawsuits. The moral of this entire thread is “never say anything you can’t back up or prove”. And anticipate proving it in front of a judge or jury if it’s something that shouldn’t have been said or done in the first place. In other words, if it isn’t true, don’t submit it to a blog discussion. I never say anything bad about any person unless I know it to be a fact and I can prove it once challenged. And if anybody wants to challenge anything I say, they have the same right to use the justice system that Tommy Garrett has. And the same right I exercised in issuing subpoenas and identifying several people when I sued them for lible recently.

  53. IMHO,the subpoena to Waldo is pretty much seeking to identify anonymous people hiding behind new and random screen names they create day to day, people who seem to think they can spew about whatever they want to say on the Internet, ya know, their alleged “freedom of speech.” I can understand why Waldo might be a tad upset or concerned, because answering the subpoena is a royal PITA.

    Oh, no, it’s asking for a great deal more than that.

    For starters, one cannot simply subpoena people’s identities without first accusing them of something. The subpoena doesn’t identify a single libelous statement made by anybody here and, consequently, Garrett has no right (legal or moral) to demand their identities.

    The subpoena requests any information that I generated and any communications that I had in preparation for writing about this case. Virginia has what’s known as “the reporter’s privilege,” which is the right for journalists (professional or citizen) to keep their sources secret, along with their notes. Garrett has zero right to any of that data.

    It requests any communications that I ever had with anybody, ever, about Garrett or his lawsuit. I’m not a party to this lawsuit. My communications about him or his lawsuit are absolutely none of his business. He has no right (again, legal or moral) to that information. I’ve got nothing to do with this lawsuit, and I’ve been accused of no wrongdoing.

    No, this isn’t merely inconvenient. It’s a huge, huge overreach, well outside of the bounds of what is legally, ethically, or morally permissible. Harvard’s Citizen Media Law Project explains that far more capably than I can.

  54. I just read the subpoena again. Even though I am nowhere close to being an attorney, this is what I see. And a novice guess at what might happen:

    #1- Appears to be seeking the identity of people. People, as in those posting comments, remarks, or lible. This of course is attempted by using the IP addresses. I’m pretty sure the court would grant this request. There is no guaranteed right to anonymity on the Internet. Far too many people think there is though. They often call it “Freedom of Speech” while hiding behind a screen name or user name.

    #2- e-mails of Waldo – I don’t know what to expect here, whether you will have to give them up or not. But I can definitely say I was able to obtain personal and confidential e-mails exchanged between cops in a recent lawsuit. The e-mails were not exempt as “personal, confidential or private communications” between the cops since I was personally being discussed and mentioned in them. Had the case not been settled, I would have loved to have seen the look on the jurors faces as they read some of these e-mails. This is the important part here –> E-mails of cops not directly named in the lawsuits or accused of wrongdoing were also ordered by the court to be included and provided. Because they were of course communicating with the cops accused of wrongdoing. The production of these records took place after the 911 tapes were “accidentally” destroyed. I guess they were reluctant to press their luck after the stink about the 911 tapes surfaced.

    #3- documents in Waldo’s possession generated or created in writing the “Hook Sued” article. I have no idea how the court would rule on this. But we have all seen a lot of reporters and journalists go to jail until they agree to provide their sources. I don’t think we will see this much drama in these cases though.

    #4- posts, comments or other writings of Waldo. I think this would be permissible. All they are asking is what you said and where you said it.

    #5- basically asks for what you are refusing to give up, and why. That there is a big can of worms.

  55. Appears to be seeking the identity of people. People, as in those posting comments, remarks, or lible. This of course is attempted by using the IP addresses. I’m pretty sure the court would grant this request. There is no guaranteed right to anonymity on the Internet.

    There certainly is a right to anonymity on the internet. There’s a three-prong test that governs whether anonymous individuals can have their identity revealed, and this fails all of them. To simply subpoena a big list of people to see who they are is what’s known as a “fishing expedition,” and it’s not permitted. Garrett would need to demonstrate that each individual has stated something libelous, and the subpoena would need to be for the purpose of discovering their identity in order to file a lawsuit against them. In this case, Garrett’s attorney informed me that he wants those records in order to determine if anybody from The Hook posted any comments. But he didn’t subpoena any comments posted from The Hook’s IP address. He subpoenaed all comments. He doesn’t get to do that. That’s overly broad or, again, a fishing expedition.

    More important, this is seeking a list of everybody who even read the article. This is breathtakingly over-broad. Can you imagine suing a newspaper for a list of all of their subscribers after they published a letter that was not to the taste of a reader? That would be nuts.

    #2- e-mails of Waldo – I don’t know what to expect here, whether you will have to give them up or not. But I can definitely say I was able to obtain personal and confidential e-mails exchanged between cops in a recent lawsuit.

    These cases are very different. I have been charged with no wrongdoing, ergo I cannot be compelled to give up my e-mails. Again, Garrett’s attorney told me that he wanted any e-mails exchanged between me and The Hook. That is properly obtained from The Hook, a subject to the lawsuit, not me. A basic test for a subpoena duces tecum is that the information “is not available elsewhere.” In this case there is zero question that it is.

    documents in Waldo’s possession generated or created in writing the “Hook Sued” article. I have no idea how the court would rule on this. But we have all seen a lot of reporters and journalists go to jail until they agree to provide their sources.

    No, we haven’t. We’ve seen one. It’s extraordinary rare. In well over 99% of cases, the judges agree that reporters’ privilege is a far more compelling interest than whatever issue is at stake in the lawsuit. Can you imagine if the government could simply subpoena the identities of whistleblowers? That would be a disaster for this nation.

    posts, comments or other writings of Waldo. I think this would be permissible. All they are asking is what you said and where you said it.

    There is absolutely no argument to be made that this is permissible. I am not a subject of this lawsuit and, as such, what I have written about this case is absolutely of no consequence whatsoever. This is requesting all private communications. If I wrote an e-mail to my grandmother (as I do routinely) explaining the lawsuit, I’d be obliged to enter that into the court’s record.

    Remember, Demopublican—I have nothing more to do with this lawsuit than you do. Subpoenaing me and forcing me to turn over all of my communications about it makes no more sense than asking you to do the same. I’ve been accused of no wrongdoing and, consequentially, these requests are utterly inapplicable and inappropriate. Read my Motion to Quash—I think it makes really quite clear that this subpoena is totally inappropriate. Remember here that no less an authority than Harvard Law School’s own organization dedicated to dealing with inappropriate subpoenas has called it the most flagrant violation of the power of the subpoena that they’ve seen in a year’s time. I’m guessing they know more about the law than you or I. :)

  56. I wasn’t aware of the Harvard Law School statement. Guess I haven’t been paying close attention. And I am absolutely sure they know more than I do, that is a given. :)

  57. Waldo, give some thought in asking the court to sensor the attorney that wrote the subpoena, stating what the Harvard Law School said about it.

  58. Waldo@11:04am Kindly list the libelous comments you say ‘Tommy’ has made about you. It would be most enlightening. While you’re at it, you and your pathetic little army can make a list of all the things Tommy has personally done to any of you that is worth such contempt and hatred. After viewing the disgraceful thread where you encouraged your mini-mes to show contempt for the law process by printing abuse in different languages including Chinese, Vietnamese and even Rot13 (David Sewell – not even giggle worthy. Why do geeks think they are all so clever?)I can see that you are flailing, Waldo. I was particularly impressed by your mother’s grasp of the Tard dialect though. She nailed it. She bloomed! What makes dear ol’ Janis feel so secure that she can join in with impunity? Even your ‘twin’ Jackson Landers was full of bluster as he spouted off at poor Tommy. I could almost imagine him stamping his foot and shaking his fist as he roared it. What do you suppose a court of law is going to make of all that hostility and contempt? You’ve made some BOLD but incorrect claims so you better be able to prove them when the time comes.
    What is TRULY stunning is that you’ve publicly flogged Tommy Garrett right here on your blog and you don’t even care that you could be wrong about lots of things. Your Kung Fu is weak, old man.

  59. Kindly list the libelous comments you say ‘Tommy’ has made about you. It would be most enlightening.

    Nah. You can pay your attorney to explain that to you. I won’t be saving you any money.

  60. ” Waldo Jaquith
    Feb 1st, 2009 at 10:28 am
    Kindly list the libelous comments you say ‘Tommy’ has made about you. It would be most enlightening.

    Nah. You can pay your attorney to explain that to you. I won’t be saving you any money.”

    Touché Waldo! (You just gave “Chloe” a roundhouse kick in the wallet… seems like your ‘Kung Fu’ ain’t so bad after all!) :^)

  61. I’m not so sure about the roundhouse kick in the wallet thing, but it sure sounds cool on the Internet. Most experienced and competent attorneys take “good” cases on a contingency basis. All said and done, from 1996 to 2009, legal represenation in various court cases has never cost me one single penny out of my pocket. I’m also 100% confident that the remaining cases I still have pending as a plaintiff, which should be concluded in 2009 and 2010 hopefully, will not cost me one red cent as well.
    None of this is meant to imply that Tommy Garrett has a “good case”. I simply do not know. It’s for a judge or jury to decide, not me.

  62. Or, as you say, for an attorney willing to take it on a contingency basis. If that is the case here.

  63. Un-Chloe, that’s pretty lame. Trust me, it’s costing everyone else a lot more than it’s costing me. You were obviously talking to me while Waldo has some issues with character recognition. What’s a roundhouse kick btw? Is that some kind of redneck pass-time? I wouldn’t know what rednecks get up to in their spare time.
    Demopublican continues to be a solid citizen at this point. More of you should be like him.

  64. Sayeth the ever-charming Chloe: “Tard dialect…”

    Girlfriend, you’re a real piece of work. Keep it up, Miss Thing… your rhetoric is unfailingly entertaining!

  65. There’s a handful of people that would certainly debate Demopublican being a solid citizen. The vast majority of them have been served with a roundhouse kick in the mouth. The rest are still awaiting service. But, Thank God, none of the handful that would certainly debate Demopublican being a solid citizen have ever been appointed a judge in a Virginia courthouse. Our judges in Virginia are among the most competent and honest in the entire USA. Especially when we have judges who will look a small group of cops right in the eye and announce in open court that half of them are nothing but total liars. While commending the other half for being truthful and honest. You don’t see this happen much, not even on TV and in the movies.

  66. Hey VoR, you’re backeth!
    Did you actually see what Waldo’s mommy wrote in the other thread? It wasn’t too clever. Janis obviously isn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier and I would have expected a whole lot better from someone of her vintage. Maybe I should pity Waldo. NAHHHH!
    Hey there DP. I made the effort to learn more about your plight. You certainly were shafted. You are being fair and fairness is all Tommy has ever expected. He has never once attacked the people here but look at the contempt they fire at him. Big mouth Jackson Landers needs to pull his head in. Tommy has done NOTHING to him. Now THERE’S a bully who needs a roundhouse kick. Be vewwy qwiet… I’m hunting steamwabbits.
    And VoR(CE).. I’m not your girlfriend.

    Frjryy’f enpvfg wbxrf
    ba gur arg jvyy pbzr
    onpx gb unhag uvz.

  67. Oh yes, my character and reputation in the community was indeed shafted. There’s a small handful of cops who should be serving time in prison for conspiracy and perjury. But instead of the criminal justice system going after them, they actually condoned their “Blue Wall of Silence” and coverups.

  68. …it’s costing everyone else a lot more than it’s costing me.

    Gosh, “Chloe”, it sounds a whole lot like you’re speaking as if you’re Tommy. Good thing we all know you’re not, though!

  69. Gosh Billy, you sound like a broken record (or is it a scratched CD these days?) I know it’s difficult for you but consider for a moment that I am not actually Tommy Garrett. Where does that leave all the posters, including Wildo, who ridiculed, insulted and defamed him across multiple threads for things Tommy never said. Will HLS or CMLP give instruction on how to deal with apologies and damage control? I doubt it. I understand that many are just following Waldo’s lead due to some misplaced loyalty or whatever but he is wrong on multiple counts and it’s going to be shown soon enough.

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