Judge Jay Hurley Tries to Bust Blog Commenter, Fails

Crist and his Pike brothers -- that's Hurley second from right
Crist and his Pike brothers -- that's Hurley second from right

Broward County Judge John "Jay" Hurley was married Sunday at the Riverside Hotel to a courthouse cafeteria worker named Maylin Romero. U.S. Sen. George LeMieux was reportedly there in attendance. Hurley's friend and appointer, Gov. Charlie Crist, apparently couldn't make it, though.

You may not have heard about the wedding, and one reason for that is that Hurley himself didn't want anyone to know about it. Hurley really really didn't want anyone to know about it. The only public indication that there was a wedding at all was this Macy's registry site (let's hope somebody got Hurley that $80 gravy stand).

When a courthouse insider posted a comment on the excellent JAABlog about the wedding, including its time and place, Hurley called the blog in a tizzy claiming it was an invasion of privacy and possibly threatening to himself and his high-profile guests.

Then Hurley allegedly had the arrogance to call the Broward Sheriff's Office in an attempt to pinpoint who exactly posted the comment.

Hurley, you may know, has been tied to the Scott Rothstein story because Rothstein, in the days before and after Hurley was appointed by Crist, gave large sums of money to the state Republican Party. Rothstein has

allegedly bragged about buying judgeships, though there's no concrete evidence he bought the seat for Hurley, who is a frat brother of Crist's (both are Pikes at Florida State University).

When I heard about the wedding rift, I contacted the main man behind JAABlog, attorney Bill Gelin, who confirmed that Hurley called him to have the comment taken down.

"He contacted me personally, and we took it down," said Gelin. "That's our policy. We don't filter anything, but if anyone calls and personally bitches about something, we'll pull it down. He felt it was an invasion of privacy and borderline threatening."

Gelin also said he received a call from a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy who was investigating Hurley's complaint. Apparently Hurley wanted the identity of the poster. Thankfully, BSO knew better than to even try to issue a subpoena for the commenter's IP address. I contacted BSO and was told by spokeswoman Dani Moschella that there was never a formal complaint filed. Ah, the perks of being a judge: You can use police without a paper trail, apparently.

[UPDATED: Moschella just called back and said that while there is no complaint on file, Hurley contacted BSO Det. Alfredo Avalos about the comment. "He looked into it and determined with the State Attorney's Office no crime had been committed," Moschella said.] 

Good thing BSO and SAO saw the light. It would have really looked bad if law enforcement would have kowtowed to an idiotic request from a megalomaniac judge like Hurley, the same judge who recently sentenced a smart-ass to four months in jail for calling him a "cock."

"We would never turn over any IP addresses anyway," Gelin told me.

Damn straight. I know a lot of posters here are concerned about the privacy of their Internet Protocol addresses, which are basically identity codes for computers on the internet. When we're on the web, our IP addresses pop up on the places we click, but we are still anonymous because those IP addresses can't be traced to individuals.

The only way that happens -- other than from a master hacker, I suppose -- is if law enforcement issues a subpoena for the IP address and then determines the holder through a web server. 

This rarely ever happens; no law enforcement agency has ever tried to obtain an IP address from this blog, for instance. It's usually only done when trying solve real crimes like murders and rapes. For the record, I would go to jail myself before turning over an IP address to law enforcement or anyone else if I thought it was covered under the First Amendment. And that includes every single one of the tens of thousands of comments that have been posted on this blog. And of course it applies to the Hurley wedding comment.

So relax. You're safe on the web so long as you're not trying to lure a kid into your van or some other crime. At least you are here.

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