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Showing posts with label FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2017


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.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Last year, just around this time, Verena Tarrant, in a special report prepared for the Divorce in CT Blogsite, indicated that writer Elizabeth A. Richter was threatened with jail time for refusing to reveal her sources in a blog she wrote in the Eric Foy v. Lisa Foy case.  Further, she was threatened for refusing to disclose the identity of Catharine Sloper who is the proprietor of the "Divorce in Connecticut" blog and has been an outspoken critic of the CT legal system for the last few years.  The full story on this situation is at the link below:

When this happened, the first thing Elizabeth heard from advisors was that she should approach The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and ask them for help.  After all, when the "CT Law Tribune" faced similar restrictions on its Freedom of the Press in a prior restraint action that occurred at pretty much the same time in the same exact case--Foy v. Foy--the "Tribune" received an immediate and supportive response from the Union.  If you look at a posting on the website for the ACLU of Connecticut, it explains how the organization "quickly" submitted a friend of the court brief "written by Legal Director Sandra Staub in cooperation with Quinnipiac law Professor Martin Margulies and attorney Mario Cerame" when the case went to appeal.  For a link to this posting, please click on the link below:

At the same time, Ms. Richter hired Attorney Daniel Klau who was the attorney for the "CT Law Tribune" and who was involved in the appeal of the prior restraint order.  Attorney Klau is also a member of the Judicial-Media Committee which has played such a central role in mediating the relationship between the CT Judicial Branch and the Media.  Some have proposed, including this writer, that through the Committee the CT Judicial Branch has imposed considerable undue influence on the Media and restricted the Media's ability to report on the CT Judicial Branch in a fair and impartial manner.

Unfortunately, when she contacted the ACLU of CT, Ms. Richter received the same kind of run around that so many Connecticut citizens have experienced when they contact the ACLU regarding civil rights abuses imposed on them by the legal system itself.  As one anonymous comment placed on an online website by a member of the CT Coalition for Family Court Reform stated, "It is a shame that the ACLU in this state [has] completely ignored and turned a blind eye to the rampant violation of civil rights, due process and civil liberties plaguing our state's broken and corrupt family, foreclosure, and probate court systems."  This is a state of affairs that continues to exist at this time, much to the disgrace and shame of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut which has a stated mission to fight on behalf of the constitutional rights of the citizens of the State of Connecticut.

The first step Elizabeth Richter took to obtain help from the ACLU of Connecticut was to explain the problem on the online contact form that the ACLU of CT has available on its website.  In return, on January 22, 2015 Ms. Richter received a letter stating, "Thank you for contacting the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.  Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you in this matter.  We are a private, non-profit organization with limited resources.  We can only accept a small percentage of the many meritorious complaints that we receive."  Please understand that our inability assist you is not a judgment on the merits of your case.  We simply do not have the resources to help."

Oh, oh, oh, but you see, the ACLU of CT DID have the resources to assist the much bigger, much more mainstream, considerably well funded "CT Law Tribune"!  What about that?

As Elizabeth Richter explained in a response letter dated February 4, 2014, "I cannot afford the kinds of major legal fees that an enterprise such as the "CT Law Tribune" is able to marshal in its defense.  Yet, I am facing an equally serious challenge to freedom of the press and freedom of speech which the "Tribune" is facing.  In fact, what I am dealing with is much more serious, given that I do not have the same level of resources required to protect myself from being punished simply for exercising my right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press."

In her final remarks, Ms. Richter asked, "Did you decide that my concerns aren't important because I am a small guy?  If so, that would be unfortunate.  But I am hearing more and more that his is what the ACLU-CT is like--only willing to defend people who are well connected and politically powerful."

On February 6, 2015, the ACLU-CT intake department responded by saying "Your online submission references an attorney that represents you.  If your attorney would like us to assist in a supporting role, please have him or her contact us."  It further stated, "if your lawyer would like assistance on the matter, please have him or her contact us."

It also stated it could not speak to Ms. Richter about the matter because she already had an attorney  citing Connecticut Practice Book Rule 4.2, "A lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a party the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter."  Of course, when Elizabeth Richter was undergoing her divorce, and she was represented by an attorney, this did not prohibit her from consulting with other attorneys for a 2nd or even 3rd opinion about her case, and I don't believe Connecticut Practice Book Rule 4.2 is intended to preclude that option.  Of course, I believe that the ACLU-CT sent her that doggerel to shut her up and get rid of her.

Still, given that the ACLU-CT had advised her to approach their organization via her attorney, Ms. Richter then turned to her attorney to see if she could get him to obtain support from the ACLU-CT.

Thus, on February 19, 2015, Elizabeth Richter contacted Attorney Daniel Klau by email and asked him to request assistance from the ACLU-CT stating, "I have contacted the ACLU and they tell me that they would like you as my attorney to contact them regarding this request...Is this something you think you could do on my behalf?  I would really appreciate it."  Attorney Klau did not respond.

Therefore, after a week had gone by, Ms. Richter resent her February 19, 2015 email again on February 25, 2015 asking Attorney Klau, "Is it possible you could contact the ACLU for me?  Let me know!"

On that same day, Attorney Klau responded by saying "I will definitely contact the folks at the ACLU."

On March 4, 2015, Ms. Richter still had not heard anything, so she sent another inquiry to Attorney Daniel Klau stating, "Tell me, was there any answer from the ACLU?  How does it look?"  Again, there was no response for another week.

Then, on March 11, 2015, Elizabeth Richter received a response from Attorney Klau stating the legal director of ACLU-CT had left and that he was now talking to a Staff Attorney at the ACLU about my case. 

Then again, on Monday March 16, 2015, Attorney Klau stated he was still speaking to the ACLU-CT, in this email stating the name of his contact, Attorney David MacGuire.  He stated that Attorney McGuire "was not familiar with [the] case, so I will bring him up to speed."

Meanwhile, around April 6, 2015, Elizabeth Richter received additional subpoenas for a deposition and hearing in regard to the Foy case, to which Attorney Daniel Klau responded with a Motion to Quash.

Upon being informed of this development, Ms. Richter responded to Attorney Klau with an email on April 7, 2015 asking the following questions, "What do our friends at the ACLU have to say about this situation?  Would they be interested in helping me out with a little moral support, do you think?"

Eventually, the deposition and court hearing was canceled because the Foys came to an agreement on May 8, 2015.  

In mid-June during their open call hours, Elizabeth phoned the ACLU-CT and complained that they had taken no action in her case.  On June 30, 2015, Jeremy Shafer, a paralegal with the ACLU-CT, contacted Ms. Richter by email and stated, "I believe there has been a misunderstanding.  Our January 22nd and February 6 letters to you stated you already had representation, and if your attorney would like us to assist him then he should contact us.  Since he didn't contact us, we were unable to assist."

As you can see, it looks as though there are three possibilities regarding what truly happened here:  1.  Mr. Jeremy Shafer didn't investigate too deeply regarding Elizabeth Richter's case in order to discover what communications had taken place between Attorney Klau and the ACLU-CT; 2.  Someone within the ACLU-CT is lying; or 3.  Attorney Klau is lying.  All these options appear to me to be within the realm of possibility when attorneys are involved.

Following through, on July 1, 2015, Ms. Richter resent to Attorney Klau her April 7,  2015 email which asked Attorney Klau if the ACLU had responded to her request for assistance.   Attorney Klau responded, "The local ACLU has a new Executive Director.  Haven't met him yet.  But he may be interested in the issue of protection for bloggers.  

Later that day, on July 1, 2015 Elizabeth Richter responded to Attorney Klau stating she would like him to proceed with working together with the ACLU to address the blogger issue related to freedom of speech.  After that date, she never heard back from Attorney Klau regarding any additional followup steps he had taken in regard to the ACLU-CT.

It is possible that when Elizabeth Richter chose Attorney Daniel Klau to represent her, an attorney who has spent a considerable amount of time as a member of a Committee that acts to enforce Connecticut Media compliance with the agenda of the corrupt CT Judicial Branch, this could have been a conflict of interest for Attorney Klau.  Conceivably, it could explain his somewhat lackadaisical attitude.

Before I finish here, I did also want to mention that in his June 30, 2015 letter, Mr. Jeremy Schafer suggested that Ms. Richter approach the state legislature to have the law adjusted to support independent bloggers.  Of course, I would have assumed she had the law on her side based upon the American Constitution.  However, should I be wrong about that, it is the mission of the ACLU of Connecticut to work with the legislature on that exact issue.  Specifically, it states on its own website:

"The ACLU of CT defends, promotes, and preserves individual rights and liberties under the U.S. and Connecticut constitutions in state and federal court, the General Assembly and the state's 169 towns and cities."

In regard to freedom of speech the ACLU of Connecticut website states, "We regularly stand up for students and other individuals whose right to free speech under the First Amendment is threatened, whether we agree with their views or not."

So instead of using its organizational might to support Ms. Richter's work as an independent journalist and blogger, the ACLU-CT simply copped out, reneged on its mission, and told her to go do it herself.  How much more ethically and morally bankrupt can you get than that?

How can we understand what has happened here?  First, what this means is that Elizabeth Richter, who continues to work as an independent journalist on behalf of the Divorce in Connecticut website, still remains vulnerable to any other lawsuits that may be launched against her.  Naturally, this has had a very oppressive effect upon her right to express herself freely.

It appears that while media powerhouses such as the "CT Law Tribune" can continue to bully their way around any topic no matter what the truth of it might be, journalists working on behalf of a modest blog such as Divorce in Connecticut still have to tiptoe around and live in fear of what might happen if they seek to exercise their constitutional rights and tell the truth about the corruption going on in family courts around the State. 

Second, we all need to be clear about the fact that the ACLU both nationally and locally is controlled by the powerful and corrupt legal system, and it is an organization that has lost its way, and couldn't care less about the constitutional rights of the average citizen.  

Monday, June 29, 2015


Michelle Tuccitto Sullo of The CT Law Tribune reports as follows:

Months after the Newtown tragedy, State Police released a lot of information on their investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and gunman Adam Lanza, but they didn't release everything, and a court battle between authorities and the media over unreleased documents has ensued.

The Hartford Courant has requested documents which are referenced in the State Police report on the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings, but which haven't been made public. Lanza, 20, killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at home, then fatally shot 20 children and six adults inside the school before committing suicide.

Read more:

Monday, June 1, 2015


By Elizabeth A. Richter

There was a phase in my life where I was observing trials in Hartford Family Court so I could learn to represent myself pro se.  I was watching one such case when the mother stated that she was uncomfortable with my presence because she knew me from Church. 

As soon as she said it, I realized that she was right and stood up to leave.  Somehow, I hadn't thought of that point because I was so focused on just watching the proceedings.  I can get very single minded. 

As I turned to leave the courtroom, however, the judge stopped me and went into a lengthy explanation of why courtrooms in the State of Connecticut are open and that this litigant, the mother, had no business daring to ask me to leave.  At the end of this lengthy diatribe, the judge concluded by addressing me saying, "You may leave, if you now choose to do so."  I promptly did so.

I was thoroughly embarrassed by that situation--embarrassed for this mother who had been unfortunately reprimanded, indirectly because of my actions, and also I faulted myself for not realizing how inappropriate it was for me to be there. 

The point of mentioning this is to let you know that Connecticut has an open courtroom policy in regard to judicial proceedings--meaning courtroom trials and hearings are generally open to the public.  One exception to that would be juvenile proceedings or proceedings where the content is sealed. 

This policy reflects a national policy which is based upon our first amendment rights which have been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  I found a very interesting discussion on this topic at the link below: 

I had a very different experience in Hartford a little over a month ago when I was in court watching a hearing in the case of Lauren Couloute v. Matthew Couloute.  Within ten minutes of entering the courtroom to listen to the proceedings, the presiding judge, Judge Jorge Simon told me to leave even though I stated to the judge that I wanted to stay and that I had a right to be there. 

So what happened to my first amendment right to open court room proceedings in the State of Connecticut which the first judge had been so eloquent in espousing? 

Essentially, both attorneys in the Couloute case orchestrated a scene, or rather coordinated together, to provide testimony to the judge which was used as the basis for removing me from the court even though it was patently false and misleading.  In essence, they accused me of violating a sequestration order which I was unaware of.

When it happened, I had no advanced notice of the arguments which would be used against me and I wasn't given any opportunity to defend myself.  Judge Jorge Simon simply ejected me summarily from the courtroom.  Underlying Judge Jorge Simon's actions was a presumption that if asked, I would have no defense and that the attorneys present could be counted on to be honest. 

Both presumptions were wrong. 

So, how did this all happen? 

It began on Thursday, April 23, 2015.  I'd actually come to court quite reluctantly.  I knew that both Attorney Michael Budlong and Attorney Ceil Gersten felt uncomfortable with me, but I was responding to Lauren's repeated statements that she wanted me there despite the fact these attorneys were unfriendly towards me.  Because of my reluctance, I ended up being quite late for the start of the morning proceedings. 

On my way into the Courtroom, I ran into Ms. Stacey Blitsch, a witness in the case who was asked to stay in the hallway until she was called.  We briefly exchanged a hello, but I wanted to get into the courtroom quickly because I knew that Lauren was waiting for me and needed my support.  So there was no discussion of any sequestration order.

For the next hour and a half, I sat and listened to Lauren provide general information under the prompting of her attorney, Michael Budlong, simply detailing how she met her ex husband and what led to the breakdown of the marriage. 

Then, Attorney Ceil Gersten received a phone call which she said was from the hospital about her son who was in the middle of a medical crisis.  The Court then made the decision that the hearing would break for lunch and we would reconvene around 2:00p.m. 

I left the courtroom, returned to my car and added more money to the meter, and then went to McDonald's for lunch.  Meanwhile, Lauren and Stacey went off together for a full two hour lunch.  Of course, these are the two only witnesses in the trial.  Yet, they are having lunch together, and still no one seems to have a problem with that, given that they could share testimony.    

When everyone returned from lunch, it became increasingly clear that both Attorney Gersten and Attorney Michael Budlong had no intention of proceeding with trial.  Attorney Budlong thrust a completed Dissolution Agreement into Lauren's hands and insisted that she sign it. 

After watching Attorney Budlong trying to push Lauren into signing the agreement for a lengthy period of time, I finally went up to Lauren and told her that she would have to keep in mind that if she agreed to sign, she would be required to state on the stand, under oath, that she was not coerced.  I asked her straight out, "Are you prepared to make that kind of statement under oath." 

Attorney Budlong was sitting next to her at the time and tried to shoo me away, but I said, "I am a friend of Lauren's and I have a right to speak to her."  At that, Attorney Budlong confronted Lauren and pretty much said she had betrayed him by being a friend of mine, and that if he'd known that he never would have agreed to represent her. 

Needless to say, there was tremendous tension, a sense that Budlong might abandon his client--Lauren--at a moment's notice if she crossed him, along with an agreement that the attorneys wanted Lauren to sign so as to avoid any necessity for trial, and me, the friend/journalist whom they felt stood in the way of that. 

Fast forward to the hearing before the judge. 

I'll tell you right now that if you are standing before the judge and an attorney calls the opposing attorney "my sister attorney" and vice versa, you can be sure someone is in trouble.  This is how the hearing started out in this case. 

Essentially, Attorney Michael Budlong accused me of violating a sequestration order which, unknown to me, had been put into place in regard to the witness Stacey Blitsch.  A sequestration order, for anyone who does not know, is an order where a witness in a case is not allowed in the courtroom in advance of his or her testimony so that court testimony cannot be influenced by that of other witnesses.  The accusation Budlong made was that while I was in the hallway, I communicated to Stacey the content of Lauren Couloute's testimony from earlier that morning.

In fact, I wasn't aware of this sequestration order because, as I said, I arrived considerably late to the hearing.  

But Attorney Budlong essentially misrepresented the situation to the judge and implied that I was aware, stating "I believe she was present when Judge Ficeto entered the order.  I checked with Attorney Gersten and she confirms that in fact she was."  Now I can't actually say that Attorney Budlong lied because he uses "attorney speak" and manages to do what I call lying without lying.  Because if you look at Attorney Budlong's statement, he prefaces his comment with "I believe..."  So he is not stating as a fact that I was present, only that he believes it to be a fact that I was present.  Then he proceeds with hearsay for which he cannot be held responsible and states Attorney Gersten "confirms" I was present. 

Continuing in this line, Attorney Budlong also stated as follows:  "During one of the recesses I found that the witness, Stacey, was talking to this lady...Elizabeth Richter...and I felt that there was enough of a substance of the discussion that could only, by implication or directly, interfere with the sequestration order." 

What nonsense!  There was no way that Attorney Michael Budlong heard anything that I said to Stacey because we mostly spoke by text, and when we did speak out loud, Attorney Budlong wasn't anywhere near us to hear anything we said; he was busy with his client. 

Furthermore, at no time after "one of these recesses" did Attorney Budlong or Attorney Gersten return to the courtroom and request that Judge Ficeto reiterate her sequestration order to make sure everyone knew about it and that  it was obeyed.  You'd think they would have, if they were so concerned!

And Furthermore, the main witnesses, Lauren Coulette and Stacey Blitsch had spent a two hour lunch together where who knows what they talked about.  I might have joined them also, were it not that I had other things to do, and certainly no one cautioned me before I left not to or told me to be careful what  I spoke about. 

Still,  I wasn't even a witness and I didn't even have testimony; I was merely an observer.  It is still unclear to me how a sequestration order pertains to a non-witness who is simply there to observe.  I certainly didn't hear either judge discuss it. 

One thing I do know is that for the last six years, I have been present at several trials of friends as an observer and sometimes as an advocate.  I have hung out during breaks with witnesses and with litigants.  I have never had any attorney ever bring up any issue regarding sequestration.  So, all of a sudden it is a concern in this case where neither attorney even intends to bother to go to trial or ask the witness to provide testimony and they already have a finalized agreement ready to go! 

I don't want to perseverate regarding  the remaining false accusations that were made to trump up a case against me, for instance, that I accused Attorney Budlong of coercing his client--no but I did say, as previously reported, that she would have to swear that he didn't coerce her--or that I walked up and down the hallway (as if they didn't do the same) glaring at the attorneys--as if they didn't glare at me. 

The bottom line is that the Judge ordered me to leave based upon fabricated and trumped up grounds and failed to conduct a proper inquiry into the truth of the matter. 

If any attorneys in a case can simply engineer the ejection of observers from a courtroom at whim by concocting a believable but false scenario, how much validity does a state law guaranteeing open courtrooms truly have? 

As a side note, I had come to observe these proceedings simply as Lauren's friend, but as a principal writer on behalf of the "Divorce in Connecticut" website, I have media credentials as well.  However, Judge Jorge Simon did not allow me the opportunity to inform him about those credentials prior to ejecting me from Court.

When I dropped by the Hartford Courthouse a few days later and directly provided Judge Simon with a copy of those credentials while he was sitting with Jeanne Hayes in the Caseflow office, he was very short and dismissive towards me. 

Judges and attorneys of the CT Judicial Branch may not wish to be held accountable by the members of the media, but this is the only way that we can protect our freedoms.  Both Judges and attorneys would be the first to protest if those freedoms, which journalists protect by their very presence, weren't available to them. 

Now I understand that I am only a citizen journalist and not a member of the traditional media, but legal professionals should keep in mind that we are the backup to the backup, and you'd be surprised how valuable we can be. 

The bottom line, though, is that it was quite educational to see how my rights as an American citizen disappeared with the snap of a finger when it came to Judge Simon.  This is just a microcosm of the kind of violations of our constitutional rights and the right to due process which occurs daily in the courts in all kinds of cases.  At bottom, our rights are only as good as the judges who enforce them. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015



Intro:  I received a private email expressing concern regarding my status as an independent blogger and suggesting I investigate SLAPP lawsuits.  Below is what I have so far:

"Although there is no statute in Connecticut addressing SLAPP suits, the state’s intermediate appellate court discussed the nature of the causes of action in a case that arose from the defendant’s act of filing a complaint against the plaintiff-attorney with the state Bar grievance committee. Field v. Kearns, 682 A.2d 148 (Conn. App. Ct. 1996). In addressing a friend-of-the-court brief’s suggestion that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was essentially a SLAPP suit, the court noted that “[t]he distinctive elements of a SLAPP suit are (1) a civil complaint (2) filed against a nongovernment individual (3) because of their communications to government bodies (4) that involves a substantive issue of some public concern.” According to the court, “[t]he purpose of a SLAPP suit is to punish and intimidate citizens who petition state agencies and have the ultimate effect of ‘chilling’ any such action.” Although it stopped short of deciding whether the plaintiff’s actions constituted a SLAPP suit, the court agreed that “if bar grievants were not absolutely immune from liability for the act of filing a grievance . . . it would have a chilling result.”

Moreover, two different Connecticut trial court opinions adopted a standard requiring a SLAPP suit, in order to be identified and dismissed as such, to be “objectively baseless in that no reasonable litigant could realistically expect success on the merits and . . . conceal[ing] an effort to interfere improperly with the defendant’s rights.” Royce v. Willowbrook Cemetery, Inc., No. XO8CV010185694, 2003 WL 431909 (Conn. Super. Ct. Feb. 3, 2003); Arigno v. Murzin, No. CV960474102S, 2001 WL 1265404 (Conn. Super. Ct. Oct. 2, 2001)."

Friday, May 8, 2015


January 20, 2014

Susanne Posel reported that,

"The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that bloggers have the same 1st Amendment rights as established journalists when involved in a defamation of character suit; as long as the issue is of public concern.
The outcome of this case establishes the fact that protections afforded the news media are not exclusive to their realm, but are also extended to citizen journalists and bloggers.
The decision was entered because of a defamation lawsuit brought in Oregon concerning a blogger who had written online that this person had “criminally mis-handled a bankruptcy case”.
In this instance, the trustee was not a public figure; however it was ruled that this case is of public concern and the negligence standard was applied.
Two years ago, Crystal Cox, an “investigative blogger” was sued by Kevin Padrick for writing online that Padrick was guilty of “fraud, corruption, money-laundering and other illegal activities.”
US District Court Judge Marco Hernandez originally denied Cox the right of journalistic protection..."

For more on this important topic, please click on the link below:

Monday, January 12, 2015


AOL reports as follows:
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- As world leaders linked arms and marched in defiance of terror attacks in Paris, there was one glaring absence: a high-level representative from the United States.
President Barack Obama spent the weekend at the White House. Vice President Joe Biden was in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Secretary of State John Kerry was on a long-planned trip to India. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris attending a security summit, but did not make an appearance at the march on Sunday.
The Obama administration was instead represented by U.S. ambassador to France Jane Hartley."
For more information on this issue, please click on the link below:

Sunday, January 11, 2015


By Verena Tarrant,
Special to the Divorce in Connecticut Website

In a bizarre turn of events in the Eric Foy v. Lisa Foy case, writer Elizabeth A. Richter, was threatened with jail time for refusing to reveal her sources or disclose the identity of the mysterious Catharine Sloper, the proprietor of the blog "Divorce in Connecticut" which has been an outspoken critic of the legal system for the last few years. 
Elizabeth A. Richter, a freelance journalist whose work has occasionally appeared in the freedom fighting blog "Divorce in Connecticut" was on her way to New Haven, CT on Friday, January 2, 2015, when she received an emergency phone call from her partner, Mr. Sherif Iskarous, a long time ADA advocate and family court watcher.  He stated that a marshall had appeared at the front door with a subpoena and refused to give it to him.  Mr. Iskarous further stated that the marshall took the trouble to cover up the subpoena so that it wasn't possible to see what was on it. 
Since Elizabeth A. Richter maintains joint custody in relation to her three children with her ex-husband, she was very concerned that the subpoena might have something to do with that matter.  Both Ms. Richter and her ex-husband have been in and out of court since 2006 as a consequence of the family court's complete mismanagement of their divorce and custody proceedings. 
"I was very worried on behalf of my children when I heard about the subpoena.  I was mostly concerned that my ex might be raising an issue that would affect them; we have outstanding issues related to health care and college fees.  And so when I heard about the subpoena I immediately contacted the marshall so that I could find out what was going on and address any conflicts immediately in the best interests of the children." 
Instead, what Ms. Richter found when she met with the marshall was that the subpoena had to do with a completely unrelated case. 
As Elizabeth A. Richter puts it, "When I saw the subpoena, I just laughed and laughed because I was so relieved that it wasn't related to some action re my kids.  I had no idea what the subpoena was for.  There was no case number on the subpoena so I couldn't identify it, and there were the names of children without a last name.  I was hardly likely to have any idea what it was all about." 
She further stated, "The Divorce in Connecticut website has published well over 1000 articles since it was first inaugurated in late 2010.  I write for many other news outlets other than Divorce in Connecticut. So, over time, I am unlikely to remember any particular article on the website, let alone elsewhere.  So I was little more than puzzled and annoyed upon receiving this subpoena.  I had no idea what it had to do with.  I did see it was signed by Attorney Scott Sandler of the firm Zaslow & Sandler, LLC which has long done business in Family Court.  Attorney Robert Zaslow was one of the original founders of the  Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) here in Connecticut, an organization whose members have been the subject of many complaints and which has been under investigation for business improprieties within the CT Judicial Branch." See below:
For a while, Ms. Richter was unsure of what she should do with the subpoena which required her to appear in court the following Thursday, January 8, 2015, at 9:30am in New Britain Juvenile Court.  As a victim of Connecticut Family Court, Elizabeth Richter has Legal Abuse Syndrome, a form of PTSD as a result of the many ways in which she has been abused in Hartford Family Court, i.e. being denied her due process rights, being denied the right to present her evidence and testimony, and being regularly browbeaten and threatened not only by her own attorneys, but also by the judges in her case.  This meant that her first reaction to the subpoena was to simply ignore it and hope that it would go away. 
Eventually, however, on Monday she began to research the subpoena to find out what case it belonged to.  After considerable inquiry, she found out that the case belonged to Eric Foy v. Lisa Foy which came into the public eye in connection to the media prior restraint case in regard to the "Connecticut Law Tribune" which is now heading to the Connecticut Supreme Court.  In that case, the Judge, Stephen Frazzini, issued an order prohibiting the "Connecticut Law Tribune" from writing about the child custody case and the "Tribune" responded to it as a first amendment violation.  See the link below:
So this is a case where a judge of the Connecticut Judicial Branch has attempted to silence any media reports on the Foy case on a previous occasion.  Upon further inquiry, Ms. Richter discovered that the Divorce in Connecticut website had published a single article on the Foy divorce back in November 2014 and that this article was the one that had stirred up all the controversy which led to the subpoena she received.  See the link below:
But the majority of the information in this article was available publically online at the time it was written with content that was known to be part of the public domain.  Thus, it made no sense to hold Divorce in Connecticut responsible for publishing news that was readily available elsewhere and that, to Ms. Richter's knowledge and belief, had already appeared generally on other websites, as Judge Frazzini acknowledged when he rescinded the order against the "Connecticut Law Tribune" way back on December 3, 2014.  The bottom line is that the subpoena was a form of harassment, a brazen attempt to follow up a gag on mainstream media with threats against a citizen journalist.
During the  course of our conversation, Elizabeth Richter pointed out that she only occasionally has an article published on the online divorce website using her byline and, in her opinion, she should not be held responsible for content not under her name.  In addition, as Ms. Richter understands it, the website itself does have the right to publish information that it received based upon our constitutional right to freedom of the press as American citizens. 
On Wednesday, the day before the juvenile court hearing, Elizabeth A. Richter met with her family attorney to ask what could be done.  After reading through the subpoena, and making some phone calls, essentially, her attorney told her that she would have to disclose her news sources or face jail.  Further, she stated that Attorney Scott Sandler wanted to put Ms. Richter on the stand and force her to admit that she was Catharine Sloper.  Elizabeth Richter then stated to her attorney that she could not do either. 
In her words, "If the anonymity of the blog is destroyed, then I might as well shut the blog down.  Readers and potential contributors to the blog rely on its anonymity for their own safety." 
Further, she stated, "As a blog writer, it would be absolutely unethical for me to reveal a source." 
Ms. Richter's attorney pointed out that Elizabeth Richter's rights as a citizen journalist are not as clear cut as that of a journalist for, say,  "The New York Times" and asked what would be the harm of disclosing the information, taking for a moment the position of devil's advocate.  But Ms. Richter was adamant that she would not compromise her professional ethics. 
After calling around, Ms. Richter's attorney was able to engage the services of Attorney Daniel Klau who has also been representing the "CT Law Tribune" in their case in regard to prior restraint.  However, before Elizabeth Richter left her office, the attorney advised her to bring her toothbrush and any necessities she might need along with her to court the following day should she end up in jail as the result of her refusal to cooperate. 
On Thursday, June 8, 2015, Elizabeth Richter appeared in juvenile court.  Naturally, after all the difficulties she had in Harford Family Court the experience was particularly hard for her. 
As Ms. Richter put it, "Whenever I go to Court my blood pressure goes through the roof." 
As she was warned to do, in case she ended up in jail, Ms. Richter brought with her a toothbrush and toothpaste among other essentials.  She also brought along with her a membership card from the National Writer's Association as well as a press pass from the Association identifying her as a member of the media which she passed along to Attorney Daniel Klau. 
The morning progressed and Attorney Klau submitted a motion defending Elizabeth Richter's rights and spoke to the attorneys present on her behalf.  In the course of doing so, it came to Elizabeth Richter's attention that it was the mother's attorney that had called her to be present at the legal proceedings. 
"That is particularly ironic." stated Elizabeth Richter when she heard, "Ordinarily the Divorce in Connecticut website is in full support of mothers going through tough divorces.  If I had my way I'd be standing shoulder to shoulder with Lisa Foy.  But not in this particular circumstance.  Mother or Father, no matter what, I will not reveal my sources for any reason whatsoever, even if I disagree with what they are doing.  Further, I will stand firm in support of the integrity of the anonymity of the Divorce in Connecticut website." 
As it turned out, at 2:00p.m. that day, Elizabeth Richter heard from her attorney that her presence was no longer required for the case, the hearings in the case were over for the day, and had been rescheduled for a later date.  Ms. Richter could still be called in at that time, but for the better part it looks as though this crisis is over.   
But the toll on Elizabeth Richter's well-being is not over.  During the weekend, Ms. Richter stated, "After the proceedings were over, I went home and slept for several hours.  In terms of the wear and tear on me emotionally and physically, I have not yet recovered.  My blood pressure has not yet settled down." 
Not only that, the cost of the four hours Ms. Richter spent with her family attorney and the expenses generated by obtaining for her defense one of the State's top attorneys, Attorney Daniel Klau, an expert in Freedom of the Press issues, will probably run to several thousand dollars.  If private citizens can be dragged to court and subjected to interrogation and threatened with jail and put under intense financial duress, how is it possible for them to express themselves freely.
As Elizabeth Richter put it, "Rep. Ed Vargas has compared the State of Connecticut to North Korea, and he is not wrong in saying so.  The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch is desperate to silence its critics and is willing to go to any lengths to do so.  What happened to me this week with these threats to put me in jail and put me out of business is a clear example of that." 

It is clear that the attorneys in this case had all the information they needed that day and were simply abusing their legal authority to oppress and intimidate a critic.
The actions of the Connecticut Judicial Branch in attempting to silence Elizabeth Richter are particularly sobering in the light of the events at the magazine Charlie Hebdo.  When you silence the press, you silence all forms of liberty and freedom.

A copy of the subpoena that summoned Elizabeth A. Richter to the New Britain Superior Court for Juvenile Matters is located at the link below: