Judge forces Florida paper to unpublish information

A judge in Palm Beach County has ordered a Florida newspaper to unpublish material from its website, sparking an outraged response from media lawyers who say the order is a clear First Amendment violation and contrary to established precedent on prior restraint.

Circuit Judge Jack Schramm Cox ordered The Palm Beach Post to remove from its website transcripts of telephone recordings in which a jailhouse snitch bragged about his ability to elicit confessions from fellow inmates and how he had arranged a deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence.

The Post also removed two paragraphs from the online version of a story initially posted on October 15 that drew from the recordings to quote the prisoner, Frederick Cobia, boasting about the testimony he could provide in 60 murder cases and his plans to write a book. Continue…