Over the past decade, family court judges routinely have uttered broader and broader gag orders, forbidding parents in custody battles from talking or writing about their cases. The pretext for these orders is that they are needed for the protection of the child. Nevertheless, it's suspected that more often they are prompted by embarrassed officials who dislike scrutiny and criticism by internet bloggers in the wake of burgeoning out-of-control shoot-from-the-hip "therapeutic jurisprudence" in the family courts. The stated child protection rationale is specious because defamation, obscenity, violations of privacy, harassment, and other unprotected speech appropriately are addressed by the law after the fact when actual or potentially harmful speech can be specifically identified.
These orders are illegal under the First Amendment as violations of the constitutional prohibition against prior restraint. Now one mother, Faith Torres, has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union because of a gag order entered in her case by Judge Debra DeSegna in Providence, Rhode Island, July 29, at the request of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU's Rhode Island affiliate, called the order a "blatant violation of the First Amendment." Let's see some federal lawsuits. http://newsblog.projo.com/2010/08/judge-bars-ri-mother-from-talk.html