Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on October 4, 2012
Salt Lake County Mayoral Candidate Mark Crockett REALLY doesn’t like people who post unfavorable tweets, apparently. When I got home this evening, I was greeted by a “Cease and Desist” letter from his attorneys.
Back on October 1st, local blogger and host of The Left Show JM Bell posted a blog with copies of the public records of Salt Lake County mayoral candidate Mark Crockett’s past and current tax liens from both Utah and California. Let me emphasize that again, these are public records, available to anyone who bothers to go look. JM Bell posted the following tweet, linking to his post:
I found the blog post interesting, as Crockett has been touting himself as a financial wizard - yet apparently has a long history of being unable to handle his own personal (as well as campaign) finances. So, naturally, I sent out a retweet of Mr. Bell’s own tweet:
So.. just to recap. I retweeted a blog post written by someone else, which displayed public-records about a candidate for office.
Now it just so happens, that in the California courts and in the Utah 3rd District Court where the tax liens against Mark Crockett are filed public records include the last 4 digits of the subject’s social security number (first 5 numbers are redacted). These records are available to anyone who requests them.
However, Mr. Crockett’s attorneys at the law firm of Strong & Hanni, have filed a Cease and Desist against Mr. Bell for posting the blog, and against me for simply retweeting the post, in that same Utah 3rd District Court.
Paranoia much?? Obviously I have no control over what someone else writes on their own blog, and I’m told that Mr. Bell complied with Crockett’s request and further redacted the public records. But what does it say about Mark Crockett’s view of free speech that he would send such a legal letter to someone who merely posted on twitter? Have we gotten to the point where you need to be considered about retweeting others’ work?
Bottom Line: Is Crockett right to legally demand that a public document be edited? Personally I don’t think so, but it’s irrelevant to this piece. I never posted the document, nor did I have anything to do with the posting of it by Mr. Bell. I was sent the Cease and Desist for tweeting.
For the record, I will not be taking down my tweets.