The Right to #Humblebrag: California Court Upholds Attorney’s Web Pages as Free Speech

A recent California Court of Appeals case found that a trial judge infringed on an attorney’s First Amendment rights when the judge ordered the attorney to remove pages from her website that advertised her success in two prior cases that contained issues analogous to a case the attorney was about to try.

Before the trial began, jurors were admonished not to conduct outside research of the case, including Googling the attorneys or reading articles about the case. The trial court then went on to order the attorney to take down two pages from her website, as the court was concerned jurors would not heed the admonitions. Justice Steven Z. Perren of the Court of Appeal of California, in Steiner v. Superior Court (Volkswagen Grp. of Am.), characterized the trial judge’s order as an “unlawful prior restraint,” underscoring that the jury instructions forbidding outside research were a “presumptively adequate means of addressing the threat of jury contamination in this case.”

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