Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bloggers Unite Cause This Ain't Right!

McAlester News-
The operator of a McAlester Internet site says he’s been handed subpoenas seeking the identities of some of the people who post on his message board. Harold King, who operates the site known as the McAlester Watercooler,, said McAlester police detectives handed him the subpoenas on Tuesday. “I was at home and they came and knocked on my door,” he said.King said he was only given a brief statement about why the subpoenas were issued. “I understand it was due to a criminal investigation requested by elected officials,” he said. King said he was not told which elected officials, or official, requested the investigation. “They said they would be back Friday to get the list,” King said of police. He said police are asking for the identities of 35 people who have posted messages on the McAlester Watercooler. Among other things, some of the postings are critical of public officials. King told The Oklahoman that the names sought had all been critical of District 18 District Attorney Jim Bob Miller.Miller told The Oklahoman by telephone, “I can’t comment on any investigation, and whether one’s going on or not. ”King said he told police he would not impede any investigation. He also had some other thoughts on the matter. “A list of 35 names is a witch hunt,” King said. King also said he has no way of knowing if any name that goes with a posting on his Web site is the person’s real name. What’s King going to do next? “I’m waiting specifically for what they need, “ he said. “There has to be a real need — and that need has to be balanced against the Constitutional rights of the blogger. “Blanket requests will not be accepted,” King said. “If they would be specific, I would be happy to contact that person and have them get in touch,” he said.Earlier this week, King filed an assault and battery complaint with McAlester police following an incident between himself and Wayne Stipe outside the Country Mart grocery store on Saturday. A report on the McAlester police investigation has been turned over to the district attorney’s office. Miller would not say if he intended to file charges, according to The Oklahoman. On Monday, King had sought a protective order against Stipe. Special District Judge Bill Layden denied King’s request for the temporary protective order. If a temporary protective order is granted, the next step is to hold a hearing to see if there are grounds for issuing a regular protective order.

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