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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - EX PARTE WRIGHT

Ex parte Wright, [Ms. 1130537, Oct. 17, 2014] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2014). The trial court issued a protective order requiring plaintiff's counsel to remove all mention of this case from their website. The Supreme Court, in a plurality opinion, analyzes authorities balancing the free speech rights of attorneys and their clients against the need to protect the orderly process of litigation, for example, by preventing the tainting of a potential jury pool. The Court holds that the protective order is a too-broad prior restraint of speech and was not narrowly tailored to protect the defendant's right to a fair trial. The Court grants mandamus, ordering the trial court to set the order aside and, if it enters an amended order, to more narrowly tailor it as set forth in the opinion. Although this is only a plurality opinion because Justice Murdock concurs only in the result, the review of authorities and the mere fact of the holding that the protective order was too broad provide important starting points for an analysis of what attorneys can say about pending litigation in their websites, Facebook pages, and elsewhere.

Related Documents: 101714_ex_parte_wright

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