The legal team representing Peter Holsten et al. - Johnson Jones Snelling & Gilbert, the guys who filed subpoenas last January asking for the identities of the bloggers and commenters at UU, WhatTheHelen.com, Buena Park Neighbors, and Uptown Neighborhood Council - has withdrawn its requests.
EFF, on behalf of the bloggers and message board administrators, recently filed a Motion to Quash the subpoenas. In response, Holsten's attorneys offered to withdraw them with conditions, including that the subpoenas could be refiled at any time, at any whim. EFF, on behalf of its clients, declined, and more motions flew back and forth.
At today's hearing, Johnson Jones offered to withdraw the subpoenas without conditions, and Judge Mary K. Rochford decided the following:
(1) The Defendants will withdraw their subpoenas; and
(2) If the Defendants seek to reissue their subpoenas, they will first have to obtain permission from the court, at which time the previously filed Motion to Quash will be heard.
You can see the final order here, and all documents regarding this case at EFF's website.
While the matter could be reopened, we're advised that it's very unlikely, because that would force the Holsten legal team to address the very substantive First Amendment issues that they avoided by withdrawing the subpoenas. Furthermore, protections are now in place to prevent future subpoenas without the court first giving approval.
As always, Lorraine Swanson and the Lake Effect News are all over this story:
Uptown Update (or, as we're known in legalspeak, "the Anonymous Speakers") is very very grateful for all the support we've received from our readers, from the community, from those who directed us to EFF last winter, and to the wonderful and patient attorneys at EFF who gave us excellent legal representation, and asked for nothing more than our signatures authorizing them to do so. Matt Zimmerman in San Francisco and Charles Mudd of Mudd Law Offices in Chicago, you rock!We're drinking tonight to celebrate and lifting a few glasses to the First Amendment.... our favorite.