Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Judge's Comments Land Her in Hot Water

Those "anonymous" comments made on newspaper websites may not be as anonymous as once thought. The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently disclosed the identity of a judge who's e-mail account was used to post comments on the newspapers website. Apparently, some of the comments referred to a high profile case the judge was hearing as well as reference to one of the attorneys handling the high profile case.

As difficult as it is to believe "commentgate" is becoming more sensational than the actual trial of a serial killer. Anthony Sowell a 50-year-old Clevelander, is accused of killing 11 women whose bodies were found at his home last fall.

The Plain Dealer reported in March that more than 80 comments had been made on Cleveland.com -- an online affiliate of the newspaper -- by someone using an account set up with an e-mail address used by Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold.

Some of the online comments related to the high-profile Sowell case the judge was handling, and one comment was critical of Rufus Sims, one of Sowell's attorneys.

Sims has asked the judge to recuse herself from Sowell's case. Prosecutors have asked Sims to remove himself from Sowell's defense. Judge Saffold has sued the Plain Dealer. The defense has subpoenaed the editors of the Plain Dealer to testify against Saffold.

Does anyone in Cleveland remember the 11 dead women and the man accused of taking their lives? A hearing has be scheduled for next week, not to deal with pre-trial motions in the murder trial, but to hear the request for Judge Saffold to remove herself from the case.

To read more: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/04/plain_dealer_editor_and_report.html

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