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While, as of late, Roger Shuler has been invited to pursue other venues for his writing, some here might remember some of his more popular and/or commented-on diaries, such as:

Did Judge in Alabama Immigration-Law Case Benefit from Organized Crime?
CEO Threatens A Lawsuit Against Progressive Blogger or
Coverup in the Siegelman Case Now Extends to the U.S. Senate.

When around here, Mr. Shuler always exemplified a dogged determination, even in the face of opposition -- a trait which, it seems, has caused an Alabama judge to throw him in jail on the evening of October 23rd, perhaps in violation of the First Amendment.

Mind the discarded Cheeto.

As ThinkProgress reported yesterday:

Roger Shuler, a former local newspaper reporter, writes a blog about Alabama politics, Legal Schnauzer. He wrote a series of posts alleging that Robert Riley, Jr., son of former Alabama governor Bob Riley and a lawyer rumored to be running for Congress, had an affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke.

Riley sued Shuler and his wife, Carol Shuler, last year for alleged defamation. The court issued a temporary restraining order and preliminary and injunction that prohibited Shuler from writing anything about Riley’s alleged extramarital affair, allegations that he had a child out of wedlock, and other related stories, according to documents posted online. When Shuler continued to write about Riley’s alleged affair, police pursued him during a traffic stop and arrested him for contempt.

There are plenty of folks around here better able to address the inappropriateness of Shuler's arrest, but I can say there are stated opinions, even among those not generally supporting of his efforts that:
 The First Amendment protects everyone — even creepy, crazy vexatious litigants. You should demand that the First Amendment protect people like that, because if it doesn't, it won't protect you when you need it.
Via ThinkProgress
According to the latest reports on Shuler, he remains in jail.
The pivotal First Amendment issue, here, has raised the question in the Comments as to whether there is any justification for Shuler to have ignored a potentially unconstitutional court order and, furthermore, did he get what he deserved in flaunting it.

I'm not crystal clear on the concept of "Prior Restraint," that government cannot act to prevent speech from occurring even if that speech, once made, would be sanction-able, but commentary surrounding this court order suggests that it runs counter to precedent.

Even given the possibility that Shuler left himself vulnerable by neglecting the legal steps needed to vacate the court order, at this point I couldn't suppose why he doesn't now take those steps, especially considering that his wife is reportedly

barricaded in their home in Birmingham. She worried about her own safety from deputies seeking to arrest her also on contempt of court charges.

"Roger's afraid he could be in there for months," Carol Shuler, right, told me by phone early Friday. "Meanwhile, I'm stuck in the house with no food, money or Internet. It's one thing if your husband is arrested. But another thing entirely if they're after you. I can't go anywhere."

Originally posted to A Murphonic Convergence on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:05 PM PDT.

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