Posts Tagged ‘Tim Rich’

My Deacon, My Sheriff

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Mike Masnick at TechDirt has a nice succinct synopsis of the incredibly frightening I-can’t-believe-this-happened-in-America story of the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida and the government/church joint venture that came after blogger Tim Rich:

As Masnick says,

A local sheriff’s detective, Robert Hinson, who was (in addition to being a sheriff’s detective) a member of the same church, a provider of security to the church, a deacon at the church and a member of the church’s “disciplinary committee,” used his position in the sheriff’s office to open an official investigation into the blog …

I posted about this case a little while back: Justice for a Blogger Ganged Up On By Sheriff and Church.

Justice for a Blogger Ganged Up On By Sheriff and Church

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Out of Florida is an extremely interesting story involving religion, police, and anonymity for bloggers. Sandhya Bathija has posted about it on The Wall of Separation: I Sued The Sheriff: Unmasked Blogger Gets Some Justice In Florida. Bathija writes:

What would theocracy look like if it ever came to America? … After an anonymous blogger criticized Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church and its pastor Mac Brunson, Sheriff’s Office Detective Robert Hinson engaged in a crusade to find out the blogger’s identity. Operating at the church’s request, Hinson – a member of the congregation who served on the pastor’s security detail – even secured a subpoena from the State Attorney’s Office ordering the Internet service to provide the information.

The blogger, Tim Rich, ended up filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and an assistant state attorney. That suit has now settled to the tune of $50,000. As part of the settlement, the Sheriff’s Office has agreed to provide better training to its detectives on First Amendment issues.

Rich’s post on the settlement is here: FBC Jax Watchdog: Lawsuit Settled with Eye Toward Making Positive Changes