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Citizen attorney files motion to fight subpoena

COVINGTON -- Attorney David Hudson has moved to stop the subpoena seeking information identifying individuals who negatively commented about the Alcovy High School principal on the Newton Citizen website.

Hudson, the attorney for the Georgia Press Association, filed a motion Tuesday in Newton County Superior Court to quash a subpoena issued against the Newton Citizen newspaper and its editor Alice Queen and to issue a protective order.

Attorney Stephanie Lindsey filed a lawsuit April 25 against 11 "John Does" who commented about Dr. LaQuanda Brown Carpenter, principal of Alcovy High School, on the website. Carpenter is claiming defamation and libel for 11 comments posted between Feb. 10 and April 19, which she claims are false, intended to expose her to "hatred, contempt and/or ridicule" and made with reckless disregard for the truth.

The subpoena requests by May 4 all information and documents sufficient to identify the names, addresses and telephone numbers associated with those named in the lawsuit, as well as documents reproducing the texts of the comments from Jan. 1, 2011, to present and all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms related to those named.

The motion objects to the subpoena for the newspaper and Queen's deposition and production of documents.

In the motion, Hudson says that the request for documents is invalid because of the qualified privilege for journalists against disclosing the information.

Additionally, he argues that in other states, courts have ruled in favor of protection for the anonymity of "speakers" on the Internet, and courts have extended free speech protections to the Internet. He asserts that a plaintiff cannot force the identification of an anonymous Internet speaker without showing a valid reason.

The motion states that the comments cited in the lawsuit are writers' opinions or criticisms of Carpenter and privileged under the First Amendment.

"Each instance where she alleged that she was defamed is nothing more than a statement of opinion which is protected from a claim of defamation," the motion reads. "Since each incidence of alleged libel does not rise to the level of a serious prima facie case for defamation against any of the anonymous sources, that is sufficient reason for quashing the subpoena."

In prior cases, courts have ruled that before the identity of an anonymous Internet speaker would be revealed, the plaintiff would have to give notification in order for the individual to appear and oppose being identified in response to the subpoena.

Hudson said Tuesday that it would be up to Carpenter to oppose the motion, and then a judge would decide the issue, and perhaps hold a hearing before doing so.

Comments

Henrycounselor 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Mr Hudson we all appreciate that. No one is trying to attack her it was just that the parents should beable to speak about what's going on at their childs school without someone taking everything as a personal attack or slander.

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

Am I the only one laughing about the ad below her picture that says, "Find Your New Career?"

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UGAFan 2 years, 6 months ago

The ad I see says "Spring Cleaning!! We make it easier." Which is just as funny.

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heresyafacts 2 years, 6 months ago

And I got "search local jobs". I see a trend.

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Satan69 2 years, 6 months ago

I cannot believe this woman jeopardizes our kids and their safety and their achievement for personal vendettas and trash like this.  This is the first of its kind in Georgia.  Put her on a U Haul out of here

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CBSfinder 2 years, 6 months ago

No one can speak up in this case because the board has allowed her to be married to her HR boss so they work together and it is a nightmore for us as employees.  We go to HR and come back and he has already told her everything we had to say there is no confidentiality in this system where they two of them are involved.  How dare the school board let this exist.  How dare her attack freedom of speech.  How dare any of YOU to vote for this reckless lawyer

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AmazedByStupidity 2 years, 6 months ago

Herein lies the root of the problem. Most reputable companies frown upon dating within the workplace. Government agencies generally have this same policy also. ESPECIALLY WHERE A SUBORDINATE DATES/MARRIES A SUPERVISOR. The usual remedy is to transfer one of the pair to another position. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and now look at the mess that has been created.

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Watermelonlover 2 years, 6 months ago

The Newton Citizen is standing up for the rights of American Free Speech against bullying.  Please write letters to the editor or comment on the Newton Citizen Poll and THANK THEM for protecting the constitutional amendment to free speech.   These teachers and staff would never have had to use an alias if the husband-wife connection had not gotten so bad.  It should never have been allowed anyway. 

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

How can she hire a private attorney to file a private suit as a private citizen, and yet use that lawyer and the lawsuit to conduct county business to threaten and harass teachers? If she wants to go after teachers then should she not use a county attorney and make it school system business? Can't have it both ways!

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HonestAbe 2 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like a winning move to me. Now we will see which judge gets assigned to this case. You can rule out Judge Ott since Lindsey is running against him. Hopefully The plaintiffs will see the light and drop this.Thank you Newton Citizen and all your great reporters

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HonestAbe 2 years, 6 months ago

I hope every one really see the importance of what this paper is doing.I have lived in this county since the 1970's and i believe this will end up being one of if not the most important developments ever. i maybe partial because i have always believed that the US Constitution was written in simple terms by our forefathers so most everyone would be able to understand it. Problems exists when special interest, lawyers, and judges try to read different meanings into what it says to satisfy there personal interests, This paper didn't have to take this stand. I don't know the finacial conditions of the company that owns the Newton Citizen, but this could end up costing a lot in court cost. I could see the possibility of it going into Federal Court. One thing for sure, this paper and it's reporters have set themselves on top of the totem pole in Newton County, the state of Georgia, and the nation when it comes to defending, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. We have always known they have great reporters who do not mind asking the tough questions. That is the reason we comment here.Mrs Queen has always been tops going back to her days in the 90's when she worked for another paper. I have never seen her back down from the truth, and you can say the same about Mrs Tatum in the government reporting and Mrs Floyd in the school reporting. They all know their jobs., as do the others. Yes we should thank them, but we should also give them all the business we can. If you run a business or are running for office what better place to advertise, If you can afford it buy a paper even though you can read it online free. Brag about this paper to your friends, on facebook,everywhere you can. We need this type business to stay in our community. PS I do not work for the paper nor do i personally know anyone who does. I just know that if you have something good you need to support it if you can afford to.

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

This is an interesting read. It is from California but the 1st Amendment applies everywhere. Read the last couple of lines on the second page.

http://www.acsa.org/MainMenuCategories/Membership/ProfessionalLegalAssistance/Articles/Defamation.aspx

"If someone makes false statements about you or criticizes you in public, it’s likely the courts are going to come down on the side of free speech. As a public figure you need to develop a thick skin; this comes with the territory."

And that's if they make FALSE statements!

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Frustrated 2 years, 6 months ago

This just sounds like a move to bring Lindsey to the public for the election. My guess is she will try to make it look like the judge that gets the case is biased against her because she is running for Superior Court Judge. If Carpenter is a part of this knowing there is no merit to the suit, the Citizen should turn around and sue her. I believe it has been shown time and time again that the Courts support the news organizations.

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Silverbullet 2 years, 6 months ago

Finally! If the case goes forward, we will have the local newspapers reporting on whether all of the parents alleged concerns were in fact, justified. All the laundry will be on the table with testimony from both sides and possibly from students who also have concerns or allegations. This seems just another chapter in the Newton County School Board's problems some of which were most likely passed down to them from the former board. I think we all want to know the truth, one way or the other on this particular issue. And at some point the Attorney General should let us know if the board overstepped their bounds and violated the open meetings law as well as the member's Constitutional right to free speech when he opened up in his newspaper column.

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gotoutofnewtoncounty 2 years, 6 months ago

I for one am glad she filed this lawsuit. It just confirms what everyone has been saying all along, that she has no business running that school, and that improvements in Newton County are long overdue. I got my child out of Alcovy last year, because the principal and many other of the faculty members were NOT DOING THEIR JOB. The drugs, fights, gangs, and complete lack of concern for students is a fact; what you read in the paper is only a sample of what goes down there. Let her file her lawsuit. Let it go before a judge. She is digging her own hole, and when the judge pushes her into it some long overdue changes will finally be made. Kudos the the Citizen for fighting the blatent attempt at violating our right to free speech!

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

Please contact Michelle Floyd at the paper with your concerns and why you took your child out. Contact Jeff Meadors and Dr. Mathews as well. The problem is many people don't believe us, even though there is plenty of press to prove otherwise.

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Shannonofmanycolors 2 years, 6 months ago

Rumor has it she is trying to implicate Meadors in this. I hope he sues that pants off of her. Saying he is doing this. He aint your problem a faling graduation rate is and when is the senior class meeting ever gonna happen

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Satan69 2 years, 6 months ago

I really can't believe that now we are going to play the blame game now. Since when was it Mr Meadors who caused all of this? I am very upset that someone would blame such a great educator and role model for the kids. He isn't the problem last time I checked the man was doing his job!!!! It is a shame that now this Law suit that didn't even have to be put into place has become a matter of who started it. Look the man writes articles, he is an educator, he does lots of things in a benefit for the kids not to slam the principal, as a matter of fact i'm sure if you asked for his help he would give it to you for the sake of the kids that are suffering at the school. This is complete crap.

Wow this man has spent days and hours bringing supplies to our school. He works to better schools. Not harass principals and make people look bad.

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Personalsavior 2 years, 6 months ago

I can't believe what I am hearing this principal is going around town during work hours we pay for and accusing a board member. That's in poor taste if you ask me. Who put this law suit into affect again? Not a board member.

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KBeet 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh so sue Meadors. Meadors did what should have been done and could not get it done so his payback is blame him. He wanted Human Resources away from her husband to keep the conflict of itnerest out of the way of Alcovy employees who have been seriously damage. One even contemplated suicide after this woman attacked her and had her leave and that is the tip of the iceberg

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Kodaanddylansmom 2 years, 6 months ago

Stephanie LIndsey has done serious damage to her career and judge options. It will never happen now. Hackers are attacking emails and FB and have so prove to anyone that the IP or ISPor profile means squat.

People in excess of 200 to 300 are writing about you people and have since the December 2009 farce at Clements Middle School.

Blame blame sue sue anything else that actually doing your job

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Truckermother 2 years, 6 months ago

Wow this woman stays in the news and continues to get horrible advice. While your lawsuit is hurting the very kids you pretend to want to protect your attorney has shown all of us what an awful judege she would make. What lawyer goes to the newspaper and says here is what the suit is about I just couldn't wait for it to go to court. Can you imagine the corruption in the Alcovy circuit if she were in there. It would be an ANTI FREE SPEECH POLICE STATE.

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Funbags78 2 years, 6 months ago

This lady fired me in the last 2 years over pure dishonesty on her part and I was very close to retiring and had a spotless record. She has ruined lives and careers and she has the nerve to act like this and bring our county down. All I have to say is WHO"S SORRY NOW? Karma is a __.

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

Contact the newspaper. They will keep your name out of it.

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

I love what her attorney said in the other paper. She was shocked that people continued to comment even after the suit was filed. That just shows that she was hoping we would run scared. So she expected to scare people into NOT exercising their Constitutional rights? Is that what we have become? A litigious society that tries to threaten and intimidate people into not trying to bring attention to real problems in their communities?

I am hearing there are stories in the works in local and state newspapers about this and other incidents surrounding the school and the board of education. So if her attorney wants everyone to open up and spill the beans, well then that's exactly what will happen. Be careful what you wish for.

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Calisweetheart 2 years, 6 months ago

ok this car accident attorney files a suit against First Amendment. She and her client go toalk to the press. Client goes around point fingers - slander / proven - at a school board member who has called attention to good things and bad things. Really? Can't he sue her? I know people who heard the chatter. Inner Circle deposed

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Littlemissmuffett 2 years, 6 months ago

WOW is that true? I was at Coverdell the other day and saw this guy. He was down there arguing for more funding for school counselors and she has the nerve to pull this and act like he is a negative? Darn what is the world coming to.

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Littlemissmuffett 2 years, 6 months ago

So let me get this right. He is being blamed. So he is using 200 names. He is in the school shooting videos and posting them? Is he also being blamed for the husband not getting jobs in Jackson, Peach Co, GA and Butts Co, GA in the last 2 years? Really?

This woman and her wannabe judge attorney have dirtied this thing to the point that no one should touch it. Throw them all out and demand better results at that school.

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 6 months ago

it is easy to point fingers at him i am sure since he is the one who wants to fix this mess. Believe it or not Mr Meadors is a great board member he does ALOT more then most. He is always trying to figure out ways to make things better and always looking for improvement. Just because the other half doesn't care for him, there is no need for retaliation. Besides he didn't file the suit you did and now it has kind of back fired. That sad part is it should have never been filed to start with. All these comments are just that comments not personal attacks. Opinions that we as parents are entitiled to. If you choose to take it personal then that is entirely up to you. Just remember how hard that will make your job.

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Wildwomanoftigertown 2 years, 6 months ago

to the judge who gets this please protect free speech - one teacher admitted to writing a comment and was put on leave - put on work leave for a personal civil suit - that cannot be legal is it John Trotter at MACE is it? If you don't protect free speech in this case teachers have no one to turn to in this climate of frea and hostility don't let the nice words fool you in her talk. count how many teachers have left since the day she was hired and we loved dr. kruskamp

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HonestAbe 2 years, 6 months ago

The plaintiff and attorney states that by filing this suit they thought the postings would stop and the commentors would come forward to discuss their problems with her. They say this was not done at the spur of the moment but that they had been discussing it for weeks. This proves that very poor advice was given by this attorney and want to be judge. Any attorney should know that that when you file a suit that attempts to curtail freedom of speech and the press that it will bring an uproar in the community. She states that she has tried to reach out to these commentors which would suggest that she must have posted and exercised her freedom of speech here as well. She states that it is only two commentors using different screen names. We all know that is not true. They can't believe that the Newton Citizen would fight this and not just turn over the names and ips.For a second i felt sorry for them (NOT) My daddy use to say- you make the bed you lie in- you have to cross the bridge you build.If i.m in this position i find a lawyer who would help me get out of this with any kind of saving face allowed at this time.

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 6 months ago

Since she is blaming him I will come to court and say so. Now he has a slander suit.

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

Dr. Mathews, I'll make a deal with you. After this silly lawsuit is dismissed (and it will) and if you "take care of business" if you know what I mean, I will identify myself on this website for all to see. Deal?

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MsLoy 2 years, 6 months ago

Now we didn't say her name was the one who bought anything bad we just said we heard rumors from the parents on the trip in Florida that year 2009.  When we said "she" don't sue me now we were talking about all the rumors but there is a business partner witness by the way and who is shooting videos from inside they school?  And we know that the money to pay the travels was gone.

Oh and by the way you really only have to look in the office areas to find those who love free speech.

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MsLoy 2 years, 6 months ago

Well I know who many of you are and I'm MsLoy so I know Mr. Meadors is not MsLoy but who is getting all the video feed from inside the building on YouTube that is wild.

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anon1 2 years, 6 months ago

you ever get the youtube link?? my kid is slated to go to AHS next year and i would LOVE to see what goes on behind closed doors!

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Calisweetheart 2 years, 6 months ago

My neighbors drove around town tonight stealing Lindsey signs.  They are down the bypass if you want them.

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm surprised there were any left to steal!

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Billy 2 years, 6 months ago

This suit will be thrown out. I can't believe the first judge that hears it will not throw it out, but it will be thrown out on appeal if the first judge is a hick or a toady of the plantiff in question. The First Amendment is in the Constitution for us regular folk, not for rich people with lawyers. This will backfire and the wonderful person who initiated it will wind up fired from her job, if she doesn't resign beforehand. I'd never put my kids into public schools for a multitude of reasons, mostly religious ones, but also because of the ultra low academic standards. The even lower quality of most of the educators is a factor as well...

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

Most of the educators are good, well-educated people. They just have their hands tied by people and policies above them that make no sense.

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NewtonNeighbor 2 years, 6 months ago

There are still some wonderful educators in Newton County. They deserve our support and respect. They don't deserve the treatment they receive at the hands of an administration with an agenda for revenge. They are also, however, leaving this county in droves. We need to stand up as a community and support them and put an end to the personal vendettas and politics that run our school system. I can't say enough good things about Mr Meadors for standing up for what is right. I hope he knows we appreciate him!

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amp72 2 years, 6 months ago

I can name 9 people off the top of my head who have left Alcovy in the past two years because it was too much. And every single one of them was an asset to that school. That's why Mr. Meadors is fighting, because soon enough is district will have a school filled with bad teachers who brown nose to keep their jobs and chaos in the halls and classrooms.

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 6 months ago

I have been told for a fact and have a source that I prefer not to name that a board member called the superintendent's secretary and the PR Director and told them that he does investigations all the time and can get the GBI involved to find out if anything is  being said outside of the central office - is this true Citizen?

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Zo 2 years, 6 months ago

Keep the fight alive Dr.C! Sadly, these folks want to hide behind those fake names and make baseless claims. I'm old school, whatever you have to say say it to my face, but that attitude speaks volumes to how I was raised.(value system)

Dr. C, over the years to currently, most commenters in this paper have a dislike for African Americans, so this comment section was designed to give them a platform to throw their racial overtone comments and attacks out there for all to read. It's like a virtual hood.

The 2 black commissioners in Conyers, the guy running for sheriff(Ferguson), and myself get attacked continuously in this paper. The common factors are all are African American, educated, and strive for a better quality of life for ALL. And with that said, it's as if those characteristics are against the law in these parts. Continue to be strong and keep the faith

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heresyafacts 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh, here we go again. Dragging that cloak of victimhood over to the Newton paper now, Zo? The facts regarding Oden, Nesbitt and Ferguson are the deciding factor in upcoming elections, not skin color; and I can tell you as someone who voted for Oden that, based on the facts, I (and many many others) will not be voting for him again.

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