I wrote a blog in Illinois and frequently found fault with the sheriff's department and a number of police departments in the county. People thought I didn't like cops. That's not true. I like cops who believe the laws are for them, too. They should be first to obey the laws, not last.
A number of deputies fed me the dirt from the sheriff's department, and it was driving the sheriff crazy. He couldn't find the leaks. After the sheriff fired a deputy who had complained about racial profiling (and had three years' worth of documentation to prove it), that deputy filed a Federal wrongful-termination lawsuit.
The sheriff had his attorney subpoena 27 months' worth of my blog records as part of that case. As soon as I received the subpoena, I knew I was not going to reveal sources. The deputies (and others) were counting on my word never to reveal sources. So I wrote up a Motion to Quash and filed it pro se in the Federal courthouse.
That was in 2010, and I filed it in person. When the court clerk told me that the magistrates heard such motions on Wednesdays and Fridays and asked when I wanted the court date, I asked, "What do you have in 2015?" She laughed and told me I couldn't put it off that long, and she gave me a court date 30 days later.
I shined my shoes and put on my best suit (my only suit) and went to court. When my matter was called, the magistrate asked me one or two questions, and he turned to the sheriff's attorney. He told her that her motion had nothing to do with the (deputy's wrongful termination) case and that the sheriff was just on a "fishing expedition" (his words).
"Mr. Philpott, you have won your motion." I was feeling seven feet tall as I walked out of the courtroom.
Of course, it could have gone the other way. He could have ordered me to produce the records. I had already hidden them and would not have done so. If he had threatened me with Contempt of Court and jail, I would have told him my car was in hourly parking across the street and asked if I could take it home (40 miles away) before going to jail. Federal judges don't usually have a sense of humor, but I would have tried it, anyway.
I might have sat in jail weeks or months, but he never would have gotten any names out of me.
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