On June 13, 2007, the New Jersey Township of Manalapan filed a malpractice suit against its former attorney Stuart Moskovitz, alleging misconduct regarding the Township's purchase of polluted land in 2005. The decision to file suit was met by a lively debate in the regional press and among local bloggers. One blogger who was particularly critical of the Township, of this and other decisions, was Blogspot blogger "datruthsquad" (http://datruthsquad.blogspot.com). Inexplicably, attorneys for the Township issued a subpoena to Google (owner of Blogspot) demanding that the identity of this anonymous critic be turned over, along with datruthsquad's contact information, blog drafts, e-mails, and "any and all information related to the blog." Despite repeated requests from EFF (now representing datruthsquad) to explain how this could be anything other than an attempt to out a vocal critic, attorneys for the Township refused to withdraw the subpoena and informed EFF that it could go to court to object to the subpoena if it so chose. On November 28, 2007, EFF filed a motion to quash the subpoena and for a protective order to prevent the Township from issuing similar subpoenas in the future.
On December 21, 2007, Superior Court Judge Terence Flynn granted EFF's motion to quash the Township's September 26th subpoena seeking the identity of datruthsquad and denied a motion by the township to authorize future subpoenas, finding that the subpoena amounted to "an unjust infringement on the blogger's First Amendment rights" and that the blogger "has a right not to be drawn into the litigation."
This is the trancript of the oral argument and decision regarding the motion to quash the subpoena.
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