Court Seals ACLU Challenge to Twitter Subpoena

Statement by the ACLU of Massachusetts FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org BOSTON — We are disappointed and concerned that a Suffolk Superior Court judge today held a secret hearing over the objections of lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and then impounded all documents and motions filed in the case. The matter involves a challenge to an already publicly-available and widely-reported administrative subpoena issued by the Suffolk District Attorney’s office on December 14, 2011 to Twitter, seeking personally identifying information for an anonymous Twitter user, as well as information on anyone “associated with” two Twitter hashtags: #d0xcak3 and #BostonPD. Twitter hashtags are essentially key words used to indicate a topic of conversation. “The ACLU believes that courtrooms and court proceedings should be open to the public, except in rare and extraordinary circumstances,” said Carol Rose, executive director for the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Secret court proceedings, particularly proceedings involving First Amendment issues, are troubling as a matter of both law and democracy. In addition, the manner in which the administrative subpoena in this case was used, and its purported scope, is equally troubling and, in our opinion, well beyond what the Massachusetts statute allows.” At the request of the government, and over the objection of ACLU attorneys, Judge Carol Ball today heard nearly 30 minutes of argument at sidebar–meaning that arguments by the attorneys were closed to the public, with several minutes of the hearing held with the judge hearing only attorneys from the prosecutor’s office and excluding the ACLU attorneys. Thereafter, the judge ruled that the record of the proceedings and all documents filed by the parties were impounded by the court. For more information about the ACLU of Massachusetts, go to: http://www.aclum.org

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT:  This communication or portions thereof may be considered "advertising" as defined by Section 6157(c) of the California Business and Professions Code or within the jurisdiction in which you are viewing this.  Nothing in the discussion above is intended to be a representation or guarantee about the outcome of any legal proceeding in which you may be involved.  By providing the information above in this format, Michel & Associates is not soliciting you to hire it to handle a specific legal matter you may currently have or be anticipating commencing in the future.  Notwithstanding the discussion above, you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content on this site without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your particular circumstances from an attorney licensed to practice law.  This communication is informational only and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Michel & Associates.  Michel & Associates's attorneys are licensed to practice in California, Texas, and the District of Columbia.