Is JAABlog Dead?

JAABlog, the popular and trenchant courthouse blog spearheaded by attorney Bill Gelin, is out of order. It's been nearly a week since there's been a new post. The troubles appear to have begun when the "moderators" of the blog changed a post written by Gelin about the inappropriate -- and, worse, horribly trite and unfunny -- "tight end" and "wide receiver" exchange between Assistant Public Defender Brian Reidy and Judge Jeffrey Levenson.

Here is what Gelin wrote for the blog:

THE LEVENSON AND REIDY EXCHANGE

As many of you know, there has been a lot of talk around the Courthouse, and in the comments section of this blog, regarding an incident in Judge Levenson's courtroom late last week. Some highly inappropriate comments were made regarding the alleged victim of a sex crime, involving the Judge, and Assistant Public Defender Brian Reidy.

JAABLOG has obtained an excerpt of the transcript, available below. To his credit, Judge Levenson apologized immediately and profusely for his comment, unlike other judges, who refuse to take responsibility when they cross the line. In any event, it's my understanding the fallout from this will continue for some time, following so closely on the heels of Mayor Naugle's perceived homophobic crusade, and Chief Judge Victor Tobin's declaration that sensitivity training is not a necessary priority for the Broward Judiciary.

This is a tough one for me personally. Brian Reidy, a lifelong advocate for the accused, is a founding member of JAAB. Similarly, I find Judge Levenson to be a prime example of the newer, younger breed of Broward judge, who are able to distinguish the true criminal from someone who has committed a criminal act, or from someone who is simply a non-violent victim of drug addiction. As Assistant State Attorney Alcalde pointed out, they should have known better.

That's it. I understand the story will hit the papers tomorrow. I'm sure they'll be contacting all the parties to fill in the gaps. Read the story tomorrow and the transcript below, and draw your own conclusions.

As you can see, Gelin is a bit conflicted -- he likes both the judge and public defender (who is a founding member of JAAB, the organization that started the blog). Blogs are about honesty and this, to me, is honest. But here's what the "moderators" -- presumably other lawyers in the JAAB organization -- changed it to:

As many of you know, there has been a lot of talk around the Courthouse, and in the comments section of this blog, regarding an incident in Judge Levenson's courtroom late last week. Some highly inappropriate comments were made regarding the alleged victim of a sex crime, involving the Judge, and Assistant Public Defender Brian Reidy.

JAABLOG has obtained an excerpt of the transcript, available below. In any event, it's my understanding the fallout from this will continue for some time, following so closely on the heels of Mayor Naugle's perceived homophobic crusade, and Chief Judge Victor Tobin's declaration that sensitivity training is not a necessary priority for the Broward Judiciary.

Brian Reidy, a lifelong advocate for the accused, is a founding member of JAAB. As Assistant State Attorney Alcalde pointed out, they should have known better.

That's it. The story will hit the papers tomorrow. They will be sure they'll to be contacting all the parties to fill in the gaps. Read the story tomorrow and the transcript below, and draw your own conclusions.

Futhermore, the transcript of the proceedings does not reflect the off the record continued discussion of the subject between A.S.A. Alcalde and Judge Levenson. Cudos To A.S.A. Alcalde for upholding professionalism and discresion [sic] as befits our profession.

Gelin's admission that this case was a "tough one" for him personally was taken out, as was his defense of Levenson and Reidy. Not cool. Gelin responded by putting the original text in a comment on JAABlog (and it was quickly reproduced here and in a a Sun-Sentinel forum about the Reidy-Levenson exchange. Above it Gelin wrote this disclaimer:

Due to events beyond my control, my original post entitled "The Levenson And Reidy Exchange" was edited, without my permission or consultation, by the moderators of JAABLOG, and signed as "JAAB" (although it still says "posted by William Gelin at 2:22 p.m."). I have reposted it here under my name, in its entirety. It may not be that different in content from the edited version below, but it's important to me that my work not be misrepresented - Bill Gelin.

And the blog has been dead ever since. I called Bill about it but he doesn't want to say anything right now. So I'll just say that I miss it and believe it would be a shame for an internecine power struggle to kill one of the best blogs in Broward County. But I also know that blogs, at least the good ones, are intensely personal things and when they're tampered with, it can get pretty raw. And Gelin had always said JAABlog was uncensored, so the moderators made a liar out of him.

But it's not worth losing the blog over. Glasnost, boys. Glasnost.


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