Man’s Divorce Blog Starts Free Speech Dispute
July 31, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
DOYLESTOWN, Pa., Aug. 1 (UPI) — A bitter, divorced Pennsylvania man’s blog has triggered a free-speech debate, officials say.
Doylestown resident Anthony Morelli created his blog, ThePsychoExWife.com, in 2007 as a way to blow off steam about his ex-wife, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.
But then his ex-wife, Allison Morelli, found out about the Web site and became very upset, calling it “heartbreaking” and potentially harmful to their 9- and 12-year-old sons.
At a June 6 custody hearing, Bucks County Court Judge Diane Gibbons ordered Anthony Morelli to take down the Web site and banned him from mentioning his ex-wife “on any public media” or saying anything about his children online “other than ‘happy birthday’ or other significant school events.”
Over the following two days, Morelli posted two more entries, one saying he would comply with the judge’s ruling and then another calling Allison Morelli “a f- psycho” and a “black-out drunk,” and asked “what kind of f- judge gives the kids back to her?” He also wrote he would keep the blog going, saying, “The judge has no say over what I write here.”
On June 14, Gibbons called the Morellis back to court, saying “It is not just venting that I have read in these pages. It amounts to outright cruelty,” and had the Web site shut down.
In early July, Anthony Morelli hired a new lawyer to appeal the case to Superior Court, claiming Gibbons violated his right to free speech.
Some experts agree Gibbons’ ruling abridged Morelli’s free speech.
“I think the judge did overstep her bounds a little bit in ordering the Web site taken down,” said Robert D. Richards, founding director of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment at Pennsylvania State University.
Allison Morelli said she just wants the legal battle to end.
“What the judge said in court made perfect sense to me,” she said. “Stop doing what you’re doing, and do the right thing for your children.