Judge in Kimberlin Hearing Woefully ignorant of Internet, Twitter
This morning, I attended the hearing
over a protective order sought by Brett Kimberlin against Aaron Walker
in Rockville, MD. There were only a few people there.
Walker, the defendant, if you
will–and I apologize for getting any terminology wrong, I don’t have a
lot of experience with peace orders, as my thorough pre-adoption
criminal background check shows–had to represent himself. Kimberlin had
an attorney present, who issued a few objections, nearly inaudible to
The Judge, and I haven’t confirmed
this, but I believe he was former Montgomery County Chief Justice James
Vaughan–a guy who retired in ’04, and still takes the odd shift when
stuff gets busy or there are vacations. In an earlier matter, Judge
Vaughan mentioned he lived in the Caribbean, so pretty sure that’s the
It went bad for Walker
pretty quickly. If you’ve followed the matter, and I know not a lot of
people have, Walker, who is an attorney, acted in an advisory capacity
for another blogger who had dealings with Kimberlin. Kimberlin later
accused Walker of assault; those charges were null-processed; Walker
wrote about things like you’ll read on Kimberlin’s wikipedia page, as
well as his own dealings with Kimberlin.
Judge Vaughan had read up on the matter, knew Kimberlin’s history of felony convictions, but
clearly was technically ignorant of even basic facts about what Twitter
is, in one instance point saying “He Googled you 500,000 times” through
the Tubes or whatever. The Judge had identified himself, earlier, as being “of the Royal Typewriter Generation,” and at another point, when confronted with the voluminous material from both sides, asked “don’t people have jobs, who reads this stuff?”
That said, Judge Vaughan did know a lot
about the kind of respect a Judge is owed. He also, again, knew all
about Kimberlin, saying “even a prostitute is entitled to protection.”
And Walker pissed him off. So did
Kimberlin, but Walker identified himself as a Yale-trained lawyer,
albeit one who was representing himself. Kimberlin made any number of
allegations–essentially, everything that was said about his side–issuing
death threats, harming business interests, summoning SWAT teams to the
home–was said by Kimberlin to have been done by Walker’s side.
The pair went back and forth, back and
forth, with Walker getting increasingly flustered, and the Judge finally
asking, “what did they tell you in Yale Law School about interrupting a
judge?” And later advising Walker to sit down, grip a pencil, and
whenever he was tempted to speak over the Judge (or Kimberlin, but
mostly over the Judge), to instead grip the pencil.
At one point, when Walker again
interrupted Kimberlin, an attorney who was “advising” Walker–i.e.,.
sitting in the coutroom, but not actually at Walker’s table, signaled to
the plaintiff that he ought to “zip it.” This process amused Kimberlin,
For the Judge’s faults, he really did try to let Walker make his case.
When Walker was able to question Kimberlin–not about everything, but
merely the facts that had occurred in the last 30 days (which is all
that’s relevant in a Peace Order Hearing), it became clear that Kimberlin would unravel under any kind of competent examination.
The guy’s story changed 3 times in 5 minutes. First it was that Walker
had issued 14k tweets against him–which the Judge assumed were to
Kimberlin’s account, and by Walker. Then it was 54 pages of 10 tweets
each actually by Walker. Then it was 15k tweets about Muslims or
Walker was also able to introduce for
the record–again, Peace Order, it’s only about the last 30
days–Kimberlin’s convictions for bombings from I guess 1980, his
revocation of parole in 1998, and even something where Kimberlin was
convicted of perjury in 1973… ish. Then, when it came to actual
convictions, there was one moment when Kimberlin came up with a defense
about the judge being convicted of bribery, so he didn’t feel that those
particular verdicts should be discussed, but that turned out to be an
unrelated civil matter, and Judge Vaughan then insisted that the
convictions remained in the record.
But, Walker didn’t press the credibility of Kimberlin enough. He was too easily sidetracked by the latter’s machinations, and every time Walker veered off, the Judge got madder.
Last portion of the trial, once the Judge decided he’d heard enough, came when Walker was asked, repeatedly, when does this all end?
Judge cited his own upbringing in Brooklyn, where when guys had
disagreements like these two did, somebody’d get picked up in a truck
and they’d go have it out near the East River or words to that effect.
Walker at this point stated what he
wanted was for Kimberlin to be tried by the State’s Attorney for perjury
related to that earlier assault thing. Judge kept pressing Walker on
this, stating that it’s entirely the Government’s business to decide who to punish (Libertarians might disagree), asking if the uproar could end, bringing up the concept of “Too Much Justice,”
asking if Walker was aware of this–the latter indicated he was. Then
the Judge and Walker swapped precedents for a little while, with the
I inquired of @OlympiaPress about the death threats:
@olympiapress did you see what evidence Kimberlin produced of death threats?
@SooperMexican no evidence given of death threats.
It seems to me if Aaron wasn’t able to
stay on track enough to dispel the accusation that he had made death
threats, the entire hearing was a bust.
The court’s finding that Aaron made “countless” death threats is in this document: CLICK HERE.