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Randy Cassingham

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bullet  Take-Down Show-Down

I noted in Friday's free edition that I received a "take-down" demand from an attorney about an article. The letter was dated August 4, but I didn't get it until Thursday, August 18.

It took the post office about a week to get it to Ridgway, and then it took several days (including over a weekend) for us to get to the post office while it was open, as it had to be signed for; it was "certified". So by the time I had it in my hands, the specified 14-day demand window was up. I had to act fairly fast. But for them, I didn't act fast enough.

I have a security camera on my driveway, since the driveway can't be seen from our home office (nor can we even hear cars coming up the driveway). I leave it open on my computer all the time. On Friday I saw my wife arrive home -- followed by another car. I thought it was a friend of hers, but it wasn't. It spooked her enough for a strange car to be right behind her that my wife didn't open the garage door. (Perhaps because the way the guy parked: he blocked the driveway so no one could exit!) She went to see what the guy wanted. It was a process server, but all he had was a copy of the same letter we had gotten the day before. It's unclear whether the action was meant as a scare tactic, or just aggressive action on the attorney's part to ensure I was given "proper" notice.

Cease & DesistMost take-down demands relate to purportedly violated copyrights (or sometimes trademarks), and since I didn't go into any detail in Friday's issue, readers assumed that I was being accused of violating someone's copyright -- and were incredulous, since they know I'm very careful about that. But no: the veiled accusation is that I'm violating a court order in a criminal case!

I asked for "support" from the free readers in the form of upgrades to help me pay for a media attorney for counsel. (I specifically decided not to ask for "donations" or "contributions" for any sort of "legal defense fund" -- certainly not at this stage!) There was a small but noticeable surge in upgrades as a result. If you're one who responded, thank you! I've indeed now run this by two attorneys, but both of them said they couldn't represent me because they were not licensed for either Nevada (where the case occurred) nor Colorado (where I'm located), nor do they specialize in criminal matters. (Neither was specifically a "media attorney".) Both weighed in anyway: they are of the non-attributable opinion that I am in the right, but of course I could not "rely" on their opinions because of their license status and their specialties.

The article, by the way, didn't appear in True: it was on my sort-of-defunct Mug Shot Museum. (What does "sort-of-defunct" mean? I gave up on adding to it, but have left the site online. May as well: I already have the server, and I've already paid for the domain registration to 2015!) The page in question is here.

But I have taken down the article (and replaced it with the lawyer's demand letter, and my reply). Thus, I consider it "case closed" -- unless some large media organization wants to fight this to ensure other web sites don't get victimized by overzealous legal teams squelching free speech -- or freedom of the "press" -- based on dubious state law interpretations. But I'm not going to hold my breath.

 

45 Comments on This Entry

All comments in this blog are reviewed prior to being published. Spammers: don't waste your time. The posting criteria are simple: if a comment is worth visitors' time to read, it's approved. If not, it's not.


Posted by Dan in Florida on August 22, 2011:

My (non-attorney) understanding is that in the U.S. it's unusual for court orders to be applied to people who aren't parties to the case. This is different in other countries; judges in the U.K., for instance, seem to be fond of issuing sweeping orders muzzling comments regarding a case, applicable to everybody in the country, and extending to speech-suppressing levels that would be unconstitutional in the United States.

Posted by Kyle, Oz on August 22, 2011:

Now I have no knowledge of this law, so just my opinion!

Reading the actual article and NRS 179.285 the two have nothing to do with each other. It is an incident that has been reported and charged. The law relates to exciting things like his ability to vote etc, sounds like bully tactics to me. Be nice to have a link to transcripts to the actual court proceedings and not just an attorney's view of what was said. Not that this guy deserves any more of my time!

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I'm guessing there never have been online transcripts of his court appearances. If there were, they would be what the court order would properly cover! -rc

Posted by Robb, North Walpole, NH on August 22, 2011:

"...the alleged incident did not occur". Certainly his mugshot was taken or we wouldn't be discussing this so, certainly, SOMEthing occurred. If mugshots are available by way of public information, Too bad, so sad.

Eager to hear when you're accepting donations for a fund toward fighting this. It really ticks me off.

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The cost estimate for fighting it was why I gave up. It takes deep pockets to prove you're right, and if you don't have to prove it.... -rc

Posted by Anna, Torrington CT USA on August 22, 2011:

Very intimidating to have a process server follow your wife into the driveway. Glad if my upgrade could help in any way towards this!!

Posted by Mike from Dallas on August 22, 2011:

I understand the cost/reward ratio, but can anyone explain to me HOW police records could be adjusted to show that the arrest "never happened"? More importantly, how does ANY judge have that much power to change "history"? I also wonder about all the other publications, especially newspapers, etc that covered the incident. Were they also required to retract, redact, or otherwise indicate that there was never any "such incident"? And, if not, why only some publications but not others? One thing about the law is that you cannot pick and choose which defendants you want to harass in a lawsuit.

I suppose, most importantly, WHO is this guy that he's willing to invest SO much money in interstate summons/notifications for some incident of which most of us have already forgotten?

Posted by Alan - Hoquiam, WA on August 22, 2011:

I suppose soon Google will have to remove all cached pages of this also?

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Presumably, that will age off of its own accord. -rc

Posted by Greg in Seattle on August 22, 2011:

Two things... AFAIK, the judge cannot gag a news publication and demand they remove a story from their archives. That would violate the First Amendment. Furthermore, so long as your information was true and factual, there would be no cause for libel. At best they could get you to add an addendum.

Second, the court in Reno is a municipal court and cannot order a publication in Colorado to do anything. Furthermore, if they tried, they would have to take their Nevada judgment to a Colorado judge to get it enforced. Which means that after they won anything in Nevada, they'd have to come to Colorado where you could then fight it on purely jurisdictional issues.

I've also heard that local judges don't like out of state judges trying to run roughshod over the rights of their citizens.

Basically, your takedown should do it. No judge would give them a penny and probably sanction them for suing because you took an extra day.

What you may want to do is file a suit against the lawyer and their client in Colorado for summary judgment that your page doesn't violate any laws and to recoup costs involved in the takedown, your suit, and their abuse of the courts.

Posted by Tim in PA on August 22, 2011:

To Mike from Dallas - it is possible that the record was expunged. I do know it is possible to have items completely removed from a record under certain circumstances, but do not know exactly what they are.

I used to work in a police department (not as an officer). Part of my duties included handling the arrest records. That included expunging records when a court order was received to do so. This included destruction of the arrest report, mug shots, finger print cards, etc. and removal from the computer database. Other agencies would receive the same notice (up to and including the FBI, since they also received copies of finger print cards). It did not happen often, but it did happen occasionally. This was almost 20 years ago, however I would not be surprised to find that it is still possible.

Posted by V.T. Eric, Florida on August 22, 2011:

It's sad that in this litigious society of ours that lawyers are required for every god-damned thing. I believe you were perfectly within your rights to post that image of this man.* In the state of Florida, those mug shots are public information.

You did the safe thing, RC. I don't have an issue with that. I probably would have done the same. I wouldn't want to be liable for some large lawyer bill to defend my actions. It does leave a bad taste in the mouth, though.

*I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on the Internet.

Posted by bandit, New Mexico on August 22, 2011:

Gotta be pretty brave to be a process server in a rural area in the West. I know I would have been more than concerned to see someone follow my wife, then block the driveway. Good way to get a visit from Mr Colt.

Also - in New Mexico, blocking a driveway in that manner is technically kidnapping. Do you have a recording of the car?

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If I did, it's probably rolled off by now -- small camera cache. I'm sure if the sheriff asked him about his actions, he'd just say he parked well away from her so as to not intimidate her. ("Oh... was I blocking the driveway?") And who knows: he may have really thought that. -rc

Posted by Dennis, PA on August 22, 2011:

Tim in PA is right. Still the same way (I have worked with police records for the last 20 years) and it is a big pain in the ass. Every agency involved (arresting department, local court, county court, state police and FBI) get a copy of the order and have to remove/destroy all reports, mug shots, fingerprint cards, etc, relating to that arrest. But nothing in the PA Criminal History Record Information Act concerning expungements says the media has to destroy their files. It specifically says that "These exemptions... include: police blotters, press releases..." (PA CHRIA Handbook, Fifth (January 2011) section 4.2) (If you really want to read it, you can find it at www.attorneygeneral.gov.) So if we don't have to destroy the press releases we give out, there is no reason the media has to destroy the copies they received. And it happens more than occasionally now. We get 2 or 3 notices every month and we are a small department (average about 200 arrests every year), so I would hate seeing how many a large department gets. The biggest problem with the expungment is that you don't know if it was expunged except by the lack of any proof. We even have to destroy the letter and expungement order we receive since it refers to the arrest.

Posted by Dan, PA on August 22, 2011:

The fact that the record of [CENSORED]'s arrest can still be found on the reno.gov website as part of the police depts media update content, I'm inclined to believe that your belief and not-legal-advice are correct about the validity of the demand. Sadly I also agree that unless you can find a lawyer disgusted enough to to file paperwork pro-bono the costs of a legal protest outweigh the potential rewards of doing so.

Posted by Ben of Houston on August 22, 2011:

I cannot conceive of a situation that would cause a third party to have to destroy or take down legally obtained data. The only possibility would be if they sue for libel, but that would be better served with a correction or update, not a take-down request. The "this is a criminal case" thing seems to be mostly intimidatory fluff by a man who wants all reference to the case purged from reality.

In short, I cannot blame you for for not fighting in court to keep pointless story up. However, on an emotional level, I would have preferred if you told the lawyer where he could stick that letter, stuck to your guns, and then gotten all fees reimbursed and him and his lawyer punitively fined for their troubles.

Ah well, we must all pick our battles, my friend. Thanks for keeping your readers updated.

Posted by Bob alabama on August 22, 2011:

For what it's worth, I agree you can't afford to fight a thing like this, but KOLO TV still has it on their site.

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Yeah, I noted on the Mug Shot Museum page that other sites still had it. They
can afford lawyers. -rc

Posted by Richard, England on August 23, 2011:

It's interesting (and maybe significant) that the attorney's letter, in addition to being written in turgid and pointlessly arcane language, also shows that mastery of the possessive and the use of the apostrophe, are skills that the attorney has not yet acquired.

Posted by David, Berrien Springs on August 23, 2011:

Law enforcement will only expunge their records on receipt of a copy of the actual order. Therefore, the lack of a copy of the judge's order accompanying the take-down notice makes the notice little more than hear-say and we all know how little credence hear-say has in a court room. In other words, the notice (and especially the hiring of a process server) is nothing more than bully tactics.

The attorney's office is attempting to mislead you into thinking that their substitution of "entities" for the judge's actual wording is a fact instead of a blatant misrepresentation of the judge's order. Their claim that "Therefore, the information on your website pertaining to Mr. Hughes is a violation of Mr. Hughes legal rights and Nevada law" is obviously a blatant lie.

The judge who wrote the actual order might be interested in seeing how blatantly this attorney's office is misrepresenting his actual order. Fortunately for the attorney's office, their failure to provide you with a copy of the judge's actual orders means that their blatant lie is unlikely to get back to the judge for the purpose of sanctions against the attorney(s).

Posted by Gigs, DC on August 23, 2011:

I wonder if the person realizes that if they had simply ASKED for the page to be taken down, they would have avoided all of this? I mean, you're a fair guy Randy, and if they had emailed you and said, "Look, this thing got thrown out and the police are expunging the record - could you take down this page?", wouldn't you have done it?

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No. Just as the Reno Police Dept. hasn't taken down their press release, news organizations haven't purged their archives (unless rolled off by age per their usual policy), etc. -rc

Posted by Tom, Indianapolis on August 23, 2011:

Given where you are, Randy - way out in the boonies of (more-or-less-rural) Colorado, the process server was lucky you didn't meet him with a loaded shotgun! Not sure about just how Colorado's "Castle" law is worded, but the aggressiveness of the server - parking his car so as to block the driveway - would certainly raise MY hackles! He'd be moving that car out of the driveway before proceeding or be on the wrong end (in more ways than one) of a load of buckshot, birdshot, or perhaps rock salt.... Unannounced visitors are one thing; but that driveway-blocking stunt crosses the line. (And I'd bet that no local judge would even agree to hear the case.)

Posted by Peter, California on August 23, 2011:

When I got to the question from "Gigs" about whether you'd take down the article if simply asked caused me to immediately jump to your reply. The thought "He BETTER not!" shot through my brain so strongly that I actually felt a jolt of adrenalin. I practically said "Whew!" out loud when I saw your reply.

'This is True' and, by extension, your other sites, are historical records of humanity. The basic stories are interesting; their context and your commentary upon them are important. It is interpretation that puts fact into context when looking back at history: "Was there opposition to zero tolerance? Yes: one commentator started fighting it in the 1980s, before many had even heard the term...."

Every bit of the context you bring to the world that doesn't survive is a loss. I know you thought hard before taking down this story, and I appreciate it (and agree that even though you are correct, that the "risk v reward," as you put it, is out of balance and you did the right thing. I can still hope that a media organization will see this post and help you, so the story can be restored.)

All that said, is there a circumstance where you would voluntarily take down an article?

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Sure. While it's rare, I did delete an article recently because I realized that I misread the date on the source as "current", but it turned out to be months old, and the entire premise had been nullified before I wrote my version. I thus considered it "not true" in the sense I mean at the time I wrote it. I would also pull an article if I found out that the original report was false, such as a story planted as a gag (though I don't recall that ever happening). I'd pull a "mug shot" entry if I learned that the person written about was totally the wrong guy -- say, not the bank robber, but a totally unrelated person who happened to be driving a similar-looking car, and had a bag of cash in the car with him because he was on the way to make a deposit. That sort of thing. -rc

Posted by Mark, Minnesota on August 23, 2011:

A take-down letter on matters of public record is BS and a sorry statement of how attorneys have failed the cause of justice in our country. The key word is "accused." I have a right and a responsibility to monitor who is accused of crime in my society and how they are treated. Attorneys who move to censor my monitoring of the process of justice move us closer to secret justice. Sorry, that's how I see it.

Posted by Mark in Aurora, CO on August 23, 2011:

This is a difficult area for me -- I support the right for the wrongly accused to live free from the smudge of the accusation, but I agree with the freedom of speech and "don't change history" ideas that are common in many of the comments. I would think that an order to add a link or boilerplate regarding the dismissal of charges with prejudice would be more appropriate than a take-down order.

Posted by Ian in Maryland on August 23, 2011:

Maybe the distinguished A&A (hole) attorneys should try suing Google, they have the page in question cached! Search "mug shot museum reno" and click on "cached".

Seriously, these people are scum. Far too many lawyers, and often those that hire them, believe that the mere threat of a completely frivolous lawsuit will force people to do whatever it is they want. In this instance Randy made what I believe to be the right call, since it can cost some serious money to defend even the most frivolous of suits, but it still galls me when I see someone have to "cave" to this type of abuse of the legal system....

Posted by Ted in Arkansas on August 24, 2011:

Not that you need new advice, but have you considered referring this to the EFF? Like the others here I -- who have no actual stake in the matter -- am angered and want to see the attorneys' harassment backfire. This seems like the kind of case the Electronic Frontier Foundation would want to take.

In any event, consider this another note of support.

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I have submitted the letter to the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. The EFF is one of the sponsors of that effort. -rc

Posted by Brian, California on August 25, 2011:

Randy - I have to agree with most, but I would suggest an additional course of action. Send the firm a letter notifying them that you have taken the site down on a TEMPORARY basis, and request a copy of the Court order so that you can determine your true obligation. If they don't provide it, you may feel more justified in putting the page back in its original form. (Or not.)

If they provide the Court's order, you could have it reviewed by a Colorado attorney (or the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, EFF or ACLU, etc.) to determine whether you have any actual obligation or risk, or not. Without the Court's order, the demand from the firm is no different than a demand by me and other readers that you put the page back up.

(Please Note: While I *am* a California attorney, I am not licensed in Nevada or Colorado, and the foregoing is NOT legal advice, but merely the frustrated comments of a First Amendment fan.) So, as a non-legal demand, put the page back up!

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Seems like all I ever get from attorneys (besides bills!) are "non-legal demands". -rc

Posted by JD in Michigan on August 26, 2011:

It may explain something of the circumstances to note that the man represented by these attorneys is an acclaimed Gaelic Footballer, who won Man of the Match for leading Tyrone in the All-Ireland final in 2003. For what it's worth, it seems his attorneys also "persuaded" the Reno Gazette-Journal to pull the story from their website. It's amazing what money can do these days.

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I don't think there was any persuasion at the newspaper: it appears that they age off all stories, or at least all stories of this type, after a certain amount of time. -rc

Posted by Phil in Oregon on August 26, 2011:

I noticed that the "demand letter" states that the court ordered all record of the proceedings "sealed" (her words). But the Nevada law she references seems to refer to expunging the record from the language she quoted. As a retired law enforcement officer with personal knowledge of both records and custody issues, I can say that sealing the records and expunging them are two completely different animals. When records are sealed by a court, the records are still on file but they can't be read. They are just that, sealed. However if the case is re-opened or the person commits another crime or violates a probation, those records can come into play. The arrest record still exists in NCIC and state files. If the record is expunged, then all records of that proceeding go away, including any and all computer records concerning that particular case.

From my experience my gut feeling on this is that she is blowing smoke in her "demand letter". If indeed the court system in Reno still has the case in their database one should be able to find the identity of the judge and send him or her a copy of the letter, even anonymously. It would be interesting, and maybe fun, to see if there was any fallout for the attorney.

Just my opinion. Keep up the good work.

Posted by John in Lexington, SC on August 27, 2011:

For the frivolous lawsuits, I would refer the process servers and their bosses to The Bard, Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2, 71–78. To the good lawyers, just disregard this note... I know there are many, a small minority give the majority a bad name.

Posted by Jeff, Israel on August 27, 2011:

I have just upgraded as a response and an echo to all the other comments..More power to you, Randy!

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Thanks, Jeff. As I said, this may not be over yet, so I need that support. -rc

Posted by Dave, UK on August 27, 2011:

Looking at this from a UK perspective, surely this is no different from a newspaper report of an arrest and subsequent charge? It happens all the time. As Randy says, if the facts of the police action are true, then there should be no dispute. The court outcome is irrelevant. Court case dismissals are also reported and is this any different? Sounds to my untrained mind as if that particular legal beagle is barking up the wrong tree. Fight it somehow!

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One of the attorneys noted that if this went "all the way" (to trial), the cost to me to prove my point would be about the entire income from all Premium subscriptions for a year. Sure, I'd win and prove my point -- and I'd also be bankrupt. -rc

Posted by Kiteman, UK on August 27, 2011:

For me, I'd have left the article in place, and added the lawyer's latter as an addendum, along with a note that you are quite happy to remove the page as soon as you have (a) seen a copy of the actual court order and (b) been properly convinced that the Nevada order has any sort of validity in Colorado.

(Note: free advice from the internet is sometimes worth less than you pay for it.)

Posted by John in Virginia on August 27, 2011:

One has to wonder how much he paid the court to have the charges dismissed and his records sealed. Nevada is the only state in the union which still has debtors' prisons, which have been outlawed in the other 49 for over 100 years. They are retained in Nevada to protect casino profits, and are -- to the best on my knowledge -- the only U.S. prisons from which inmates can be ransomed and released by making a cash payment.

Posted by Stephen, South Australia on August 27, 2011:

I hope that you get a win out of this but be thankful you don't live in Australia! A previous Prime Minister, John Howard, introduced legislation that suggested if you criticise a politician, you may be charged with a criminal offence! As far as I know, that legislation has yet to be repealed.

Posted by Paul, England on August 27, 2011:

Just thought you'd be interested to know that I had never seen the initial page, but made sure I did after the legal threats you received. So, his lawyers have directly led to one more person finding out he is allegedly a sexual pervert. Hope they are pleased with the results. I hope others follow this example!

Posted by Robert, Maryland on August 27, 2011:

Can't disagree with anything you did but one other option you might consider is a letter to the Nevada Bar Association questioning the potential misapplication of the judge's order and the conduct of the attorney and thus his ethics. Would be fun for him to have to reply to the Bar Association even if nothing comes of it.

Posted by Nicole in California on August 27, 2011:

Not being sure of the specifics of the case (such as, was he truly not guilty, or was there simply no evidence despite guilt), I think an appropriate course of action would be to add an update tag to your story, but still remove the mug shot to help prevent potentially undeserved humiliation. But I think you disagree, and would prefer to keep it all up as seems to be your legal right, though I'd be disappointed to learn that such identifying information as an actual photo stayed part of your site despite an update saying all history was expunged. Humiliation is harsh to overcome.

Still, I completely agree with other posters that the attorney doesn't appear to have the right to tell you to remove anything at all, that any order by the judge would not even pertain to you and if it did, it would be sent directly to you just like all other relevant entities received it directly (as opposed to through the attorney's scare-tactics) or it would at least be sent in whole (not just cited as hearsay in a letter). If you filed papers yourself, and just paid an attorney to go over it (or else really fine-tooth combed it independently), would it be financially possible to go through Nevada courts if necessary, or your own local courts if possible, to see if you can be given legal protection to re-publish as you see fit? Especially keeping the original story, but with an added update as you've done many other times?

Shrug.

I'd love to support your efforts, and if I wasn't a low income single mom of five, trust me that I'd have upgraded by now whether to help tsunami victims, or help your attorney fees, not to mention just enjoy more stories. I perk up every time I notice This is True in my inbox.

Posted by Peter, San Jose, California on August 27, 2011:

My non-attorney opinion is that you were not obligated to take down the article, but an examination of the court transcript (not just the order) might tell you whether the incident really took place. If not, the story is about that. If the man is factually innocent, you could be a mensch and voluntarily remove his name and photo without compromising your journalistic integrity. The power of the press is the power to destroy. Use it wisely.

Posted by Ed, Alabama on August 27, 2011:

As a former law enforcement officer (in several states and the US Govt,) let me give you this view.

It is doubtful that you can be held to the Nevada court's order -- whether or not it is a 'seal' or an expungement -- as a criminal matter. However, if the attorney's representation of the matter is accurate (debatable until the actual order can be produced) "...the incident never happened."

If this is in fact true, you could be entering the area of libel. As a writer, this is probably more familiar ground for you. Since the defense to libel is that the libelous writing is knowingly untrue, one would have no defense once informed that an event "never happened."

Since you have complied upon notice, you have most likely eliminated any tort claim. This will give you time to wait for the actual court order. You might also write or call the arresting agency and ask for copies of the mug-shot and arrest report. They will certainly inform you of any expungement or order of seal.

Knowing of the mistakes made by law enforcement and prosecutors, orders such as the one purported in this case are infrequent but not rare, and they serve an important purpose. Particularly in our pervasive World Wide Web of information.

Please keep us informed.

Posted by Otto, Tacoma WA on August 27, 2011:

From my perspective as an attorney, the letter from the lawyer in Reno appears to be an attempt to mitigate damages to her client, but her effort has back-fired. The case is now getting the attention of your innumerable readers who have long forgotten the original posting. Her letter is also, in my opinion, an attempt to curtail your rights of free speech and publication as protected by the United States Constitution and the constitutions of each and every state. From all appearances her client was actually arrested and charged, as your article truthfully reported. Although the charges were ultimately dismissed, it is not accurate for her to say that the incident never happened.

The statute she cites does not apply to you. The statute allows defendants who are within the class of people described in the statute, for certain limited purposes such as employment applications, to deny that the charges were filed against them, as if the charges had not been filed.

Moreover, the Nevada Supreme Court has specifically ruled on the legal effect of the statute in a number of cases, one of the most recent being Zana vs. State of Nevada, 216 P.3d 244 (2009). Some of the relevant language from page 247 of that decision is quoted below.

"When a court orders a record sealed, [a]ll proceedings recounted in the record are deemed never to have occurred." NRS 179.285. This fiction permits the subject of the sealed proceedings to properly deny his or her arrest, conviction, dismissal, or acquittal in connection with the proceedings. See Yllas v. State, 112 Nev. 863, 867, 920 P.2d 1003, 1005 (1996). In this way, sealing orders are intended to permit individuals previously involved with the criminal justice system to pursue law-abiding citizenship unencumbered by records of past transgressions. See Baliotis v. Clark County, 102 Nev. 568, 570-71, 729 P.2d 1338, 1340 (1986). "It is clear, however, that such authorized disavowals cannot erase history. Nor can they force persons who are aware of an individual's criminal record to disregard independent facts known to them." Id. at 571, 729 P.2d at 1340. Thus, as we have previously observed, while a sealing order erases many of the consequences that potentially flow from past criminal transgressions, it is beyond the power of any court to unring a bell. See id. For example, in Baliotis, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department recommended denial of a convicted felon's application for a private detective's license based on his prior felonies even though records of the applicant's felony convictions were sealed. Id. at 569, 729 P.2d at 1339. This court upheld the recommendation because the officers investigating the applicant's character had personal knowledge of the applicant's criminal history. Id. at 570-71, 729 P.2d at 1339-40. In so doing, we respected the sealing statute's limited effect: it erases an individual's involvement with the criminal."

This ruling has been cited by the Nevada Supreme Court nine times, most recently May 10, 2011.

You have certain options before you, among them re-posting the original article (with or without the letter from the attorney, filing an action for declaratory judgment, filing an ethics complaint with the Nevada Bar Association, filing a law suit against the attorney seeking monetary damages. This is not a complete list nor are your remedies mutually exclusive. You can probably get a few hundred lawyers in Nevada and/or Colorado to help you pro bono.

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I'm still waiting for one to step forward. Thanks for your opinion and research! -rc

Posted by Ed, N Bennington VT on August 28, 2011:

The facts of complaint and arrest don't seem to be at issue. The subsequent dismissal is also a fact and should be part of any story:

"A guy was accused, arrested and all charges were subsequently dropped and the facts of the court case were considered to be of no use to the public and potentially harmful to the defendant so they may not be accessed. It has been determined that the event prompting the original complaint did not actually occur within the legal definition of occur."

Have all newspaper archives been purged of all references in a Orwellian 1984 revision of history? Has the arrest been expunged from the defendant's permanent file within the vast array of databases maintained by all branches of the justice system?

In this world of instant availability of data the elite are increasingly afraid of non-elites acquiring the ability to convert data into information which can then be used to develop knowledge. This is evidenced by the filters used by main stream media.

It is also shown in the new politically correct four freedoms:

• Freedom From Discomfort, Insult and Offense. (Stop whistling those dirty songs.)
• Freedom From Responsibility and Cause and Effect. (It's not my [or their] fault, ever; although it might be yours.)
• Freedom From Reason & Absolutes. (It is inconvenient and undesirable for that condition to be true.)
• Freedom From Knowledge, Discourse & Debate. (Don't confuse me with your set of alleged facts; what I tell you three times is true. If you don’t understand that you are just stupid…and a bigot; and so are your sources, all of them, every one.)

Posted by George, Acton, CA on August 29, 2011:

The Nevada attorney's legal argument sounds silly to me and I agree with the first amendment concerns. But morally it seems only right that you should take it down after a court determined he didn't do it.

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As far as I read it, no court made any such determination. -rc

Posted by David, NC on August 31, 2011:

How is this even possible since mug shots and the arrest reports are PUBLIC Documents and contain no more than was likely published in local papers within a day or so of the arrest.

I'm not a lawyer but I suggest you exercise your right to subpeona and file for the attorneys records regarding this case anyway and possibly all other incidents of seeking takedown orders.

Here in NC there is actually a publication similar to the late mugshot museum although, in a bit more serious vein, simply called the Slammer that has actually posted mugshots along with charges of even some celebrities (WOOOOOO) thats a hint.

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The Mug Shot Museum does have a Celebrities & Public Figures category, which managed to accumulate a half-dozen entries in the few months it was open. You can see all the categories on the home page, left side, under the navigation box. -rc

Posted by Joan, MT on September 3, 2011:

What color and body style was the car who followed your wife??

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Too long ago now to have any recollection. -rc

Posted by Joan, MT on September 4, 2011:

He has been in MT where lots of people found your mugshot and Reno newspaper article; and they showed it to him recently. That is what prompted the lawyer letter, no doubt. Perhaps he was the guy in your driveway.

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No, definitely not: he didn't look anything like the guy in the mug shot. -rc

Posted by Scott in Oregon on November 4, 2011:

Reminds of a friend who was shopping for a house with some land in a small town 25 minutes SW of Portland. Seems not one, not two, but three of the neighbors were keeping watch on this strange vehicle in their little corner of paradise; through high powered optics attached to high powered....

He liked that a lot and after introductions all around bought the house.

Back to the letter from Reno: THAT is why lawyer jokes are frequently so harsh... and so often retold.

Posted by Denny, Ohio on November 4, 2011:

I'm wondering if the attorney feels justified in ordering me to clear my browser history. What about my old newspapers that contain the pictures?

Just more silly perversions of our legal system. Only the legal system would think they can unring the bell.

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