Monday, April 18, 2011

Blago Trial Judge Zagel Violates First Amendment, Freedom Of Choice

Yahoo! News has the story of Judge Zagel warning ousted Illinois Governor , Rod Blagojevich about making comments to the news media because his statements "could be used against him". In the context of media freedom and the freedom of a citizen or citizens to speak with the media, this seems to be the typical Illinois backhanded approach to circuventing the First Amendment, among other constitutional guarantees to freedom of choice when it comes to the right of a person or group of people to decide when and when not to speak.

Illinois has a long history of using coercion & intimidation against those whom it wishes to silence. Blago apparently raised the hairs on the neck of the assigned prosecutor given the prosecutor's conduct in the courtroom in front of th judge when he raised his voice and said he wishes he could put Blago on the stand, supposedly to show what a liar he is.

Shortwave America sees a double standard here: Blago can't air his remarks & opinions to the media under threat of his remarks being used against him & yet, the prosecutor can openly opine in court DURING A STATUS HEARING which is NOT part of the trial itself, that Blagojevich is a liar? HELLO? TALK ABOUT GRANDSTANDING!

There is a reason for a second trial being held and this type of misconduct by prosecutors & judges siding with prosecutors is a big part of it!! The good old boy network is alive & well in Illinois as always!

How about those of us who are full time members of the media getting together in protest to publicly remind the court system and the government of the fact that it is our right to practice reporting voluntary citizen statements and protect the rights of citizens to speak with us!

This judge must really be scared that something is amiss on part of the government in this case because this is not the first time the court has tried to silence Blagojevich by coercion or intimidation in the context of media communications. Through-out this whole circus, it has always been heir apparent that no crime has been committed and that the case has always been about politics. There is just too much wrong with all of this and definitely in the sense that the court does not want anyone speaking to the media nor does the court smile on the media doing what we do....reporting on newsworthy current events.

In Illinois, there have been a long list of criminal cases that have been blown wide open by good reporting and the innocent have been given their lives back, forcing the Illinois Government to re-open or even re-start criminal investigations to search for he or she who is truly guilty. Shortwave America has a message for Judge Zagel: SHUT UP!

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