It has been a busy few days for us in the Ohio Supreme Court. There are currently FOUR cases pending there relating to “M.R.,” the Cincinnati police officer who has sued citizens for criticizing his on-duty conduct. Background here: cincinnati.com/story/news/202…
In separate orders last July, the Hamilton County Common Pleas judge hearing his case first permitted the officer to proceed under his “M.R.” pseudonym (and to file evidence under seal), and then barred the defendants (incl. @winemedineme) from identifying him.
I have been representing Prof. Eugene Volokh (@VolokhC) in a bid to obtain writs of mandamus and prohibition to restore public access to those court records, including the officer’s name. @jackcgreiner has been representing @Enquirer in a separate but similar case.
Last week, the Court denied the judge’s motions to dismiss both cases, consolidated them, and issued an alternative writ (which is just a fancy way to say that it set a briefing schedule for the merits). Briefs will be filed in the next ~2 months.
Today, the appellants filed their brief in support of their argument that prior restraints (as the order preventing them from naming M.R. surely is) must have immediate appellate review. Their brief (by @erik_laursen and @gatorjenni) is available here: supremecourt.ohio.gov/pdf_viewer/pdf…
I am happy to support the appellants by filing this amicus brief on behalf of Prof. Volokh, @andy_geronimo, @paythewriter, @spj_tweets, @newsguild, the publisher of @ClevelandScene and @CityBeatCincy, @WGAEast, @InstFreeSpeech, and 7 others: supremecourt.ohio.gov/pdf_viewer/pdf…
Also supporting the appellants are @ohio_media, the Ohio Coalition for Open Government, and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters. This brief, filed by the inimitable @tom_haren, is really fantastic: supremecourt.ohio.gov/pdf_viewer/pdf…
In addition to the mandamus and prohibition cases mentioned above, I also represent Prof. Volokh in a separate appeal from the dismissal of an earlier mandamus/prohibition case, in which we filed this merits brief about three weeks ago: supremecourt.ohio.gov/pdf_viewer/pdf…
Finally, do you think it's unjust that the case has proceeded even this far? So do I. To combat cases like these, nearly 8 years ago @tom_haren and I began advocating for a new anti-SLAPP law in Ohio.
It’s been introduced several times (here, e.g., legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/le…), and looked like we were on track for progress when COVID hit.

Hasn’t been reintroduced yet 2021, but if you live in Ohio, call your legislators and ask them to support the Ohio Citizens Participation Act.
We’ll never be able to completely stop censorious litigation, but with enough support for this bill we can discourage most of them from being filed, bring them to a quick end when they *are* filed, and limit their impact on victims--which are both the defendants and the public.
I will update on the cases (and the bill) as warranted. In the meantime, back to my very amateurish bird photography!

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More from @jeffreynye

26 Oct 20
Time for another update on the case where a Cincinnnati Police officer pseudonymously sued several citizens for criticizing his on-duty conduct. There have been new filings, though no new decisions, in two courts.
At last update, I told you that the common pleas judge had partially unsealed his affidavit, but had allowed him to continue to use a pseudonym
I also linked to jurisdictional briefing in the Ohio Supreme Court, including our amicus brief
Read 11 tweets

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