In the early hours of January 19, 2017 a troop of six FBI agents banged on investigative journalist Paul Boyne's door in Virginia where he lives with his elderly parents who are in their 80s. What were they there for? The agents had a search and seizure warrant allowing them to take all of Mr. Boyne's computers, computer equipment, and related items based upon the laughable allegation that he had been cyberbullying, stalking or harassing family court Judge Elizabeth Buzzoto.
From what it looks like, the CT Department of Justice headed by Deirdre Daly, was able to contact a judge in Virginia and obtain this warrant. What is ironic about this prompt action on behalf of Judge Elizabeth Buzzoto is that in the past few years, dozens of family court victims have submitted complaints of Civil Rights violations and ADA rights violations to Attorney Deirdre Daly, all of which she has routinely ignored.
Somehow to Attorney Deirdre Daly a family court judge's welfare and rights are considerably more important than the rights of citizens of the State of Connecticut? Why is that? Why does Attorney Deirdre Daly go all out to protect a judge, but ignores citizens? Is it because she doesn't think average Connecticut citizens are worth her time? If so, that's pretty disgusting.
In regard to the charges leveled against Paul Boyne, they are clearly ridiculous and absurd. As many people may be aware, Mr. Paul Boyne is an investigative journalist and political satirist who has spoken up for many abused and injured family court litigants who have been unjustly treated and tortured by the Connecticut Family Court system. His courageous and outspoken reports to Connecticut State officials and employees of the Connecticut Judicial Branch have been a source of comfort and solace to family court victims who really have had nobody else willing to stand up for them and speak out on their behalf.
In addition to his investigative work, Mr. Boyne has long used Facebook and Twitter to satirize and parody the legal system, most particularly in regard to Connecticut Family Court Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto. Frequently, the content of these communications could be characterized as very offensive and and anti-semitic. For me, as a person with Jewish heritage, I'd say that Mr. Paul Boyne's tweets are extremely offensive to anyone who is Jewish or who abhors religious bigotry.
At one point, I confronted him on this, and he stated that he was making these anti-semitic slurs to send a message about family court. It isn't one that I would agree with. However, based upon the first Amendment, Mr. Boyne has every right to freedom of expression. Along with Evelyn Beatrice Hall I would also state, "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." In essence, what he has done is no different in many ways to what has appeared regularly in "Mad Magazine", The Daily Show, or Saturday Night Live.
It particularly concerns me that in order to obtain her warrant, Attorney Deirdre Daly and her allies essentially lied to the judge in Virginia. Judge Elizabeth Buzzoto is a public figure--you cannot characterize a journalist's satirical challenges towards her as a form of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying by its very nature can only occur when you have two people who are on an equal footing in regard to social status and power. Clearly, Judge Buzzoto wields a level of power and authority well beyond that of Journalist Paul Boyne, and as such it is disingenuous to the extreme, if not deliberately misleading to say that Mr. Boyne cyberbullied her in any way.
What is particularly absurd about the CT Judicial Branch's decision to go after Paul Boyne is that he is not particularly good at parody or satire. My guess is, in fact, that he turns off most of the people who read his work, and that, if he's trying to get people to agree with his views regarding family court, he is most likely shooting himself right in the foot and alienating the majority of his audience with what he writes.
Still, despite the obvious failure of these satirical accounts and the universal disregard in which they are held by most people, the CT Judicial Branch is so intolerant of any kind of criticism that it felt moved to respond with such harsh and draconian measures.
That's just pathetic.
Further, Mr. Paul Boyne has pointed out that his writing is fundamentally protected speech. Thus, he brought to my attention the freedom of speech case U.S. v. Cassidy (2011) in which Judge Roger W. Titus ruled in favor of the defendant citing the following point, that "Under the First Amendment 'Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech" and he stated further, "from our nation's founding there has been a tradition of protecting anonymous speech, particularly anonymous political or religious speech."
Judge Titus went further in support of freedom of speech to state, "Moreover, the First Amendment protects speech even when the subject or manner of expression is uncomfortable and challenges conventional religious beliefs, political attitudes or standards of good taste." He also stated, "the Supreme court has consistently classified emotionally distressing or outrageous speech as protected, especially where that speech touches on matters of political, religious or public concern. This is because 'in public debate our own citizens must tolerate insulting, and even outrageous speech in order to provide adequate breathing space to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment."
So what occurred here with a posse of six FBI agents barging their way into a private home and confiscating Mr. Paul Boyne's computer equipment was a complete violation of the law.
But what can I say. As Family Court victims we have regularly seen examples where Judges, U.S. Attorney's General, and Attorneys violate federal and state law at will and there appears to be no consequence to such behavior. Meanwhile, these very same persons come before the Judiciary Committee, the Connecticut Media and Public and go boohoo and act as though they are the victims. What a joke!
In terms of the future of our freedoms as American citizens in the State of Connecticut in regard to Freedom of Speech, there is also the concern that the Connecticut Judicial Branch is using Mr. Paul Boyne's case as a means to investigate and silence its political enemies.
More specifically, now that U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly and her pals have all of Mr. Boyne's computers, they can then snoop into all of his communications with family court activists and find out all the details regarding their plans for political organizing. Most notable in this regard is that the orders seizing these computers extends to the year 2014 and on. As most of you know, it was in 2014 that the Coalition for Connecticut Family Court Reform came together and pressed for improvements in the area of GAL reform.
The very same situation occurred with activist Ted Taupier who was criminally charged as the result of a private expression of frustration in regard to Judge Elizabeth Buzzoto which was sent in an email to close friends and never to the Judge herself. This was also used as grounds to seize all of Ted Taupier's computers which again included private communications among advocates working for judicial reform.
The search and seizure warrant for Mr. Paul Boyne makes specific reference to wanting information in regard to a "Mr. Paul A. Boyne and others."
Who are these mysterious others? Could this mean anyone who might have the gall to criticize the Connecticut Judicial Branch and hold it to account and ask that employees of the Branch itself obey the law in the way that every other Connecticut Citizen is required to?
Since 2014, many of those who testified about the harm and damage they endured from the Connecticut Family Court system have experienced retaliation. If you are one of the "others" Mr. Boyne's legal documents referred to, one of those who testified or criticized, you have every reason to be afraid, to be very, very afraid. It would appear that no one, not one single voice is allowed to challenge what many people see as the fraudulent, racketeering scheme that is the Connecticut Family Court system.
Whose home will FBI agents break into next? Will it be yours or yours?