‘News & Advance’ Subpoenaed for Web Commenter’s Identity

By: E&P Staff

A Bedford County, Va., judge has issued a subpoena ordering the Lynchburg News & Advance to identify the person who posted comments on its Website under the name bedfordresdient.

The paper is to give the poster’s name to attorneys representing Wesley Earnest, who was convicted in April of murdering his estranged wife.

Claiming to have been a juror in Earnest’s trial, bedfordresident defended the verdict and said the jury looked at Jocelyn Earnest’s journals, Rex Bowman reported in The Roanoke News. Because the journals were never entered into evidence, the verdict could be challenged.

Defense attorney Joseph Sanzone of Lynchburg gave no reason for requesting the poster’s identity.

Sentencing of Earnest, an assistant high school principal, was postponed until September.

Bowman quoted an e-mail from News & Advance City Editor Caroline Glickman stating that her paper’s lawyers were reviewing the subpoena “and will respond as appropriate, as we would with any subpoena.”

Washington and Lee University law professor Brian Murchison told Bowman that the state has little related case law to suggest whether a court would force disclosure of bedfordresident’s name.

 

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