from the no-pants-dance dept
For obvious reasons, we’ve covered a metric ton of Streisand Effect stories here at Techdirt over the years, but I honestly didn’t think we’d get to one about a judge not wearing pants. Yet, unfortunately, here we are.
Meet Judge Jamie Jameson, of the 42nd Judicial Circuit court in Kentucky. Jameson is currently suspended from his duties over a series of misconduct allegations, much of which has been dutifully covered by WKMS, Murray State’s NPR radio station. Those misconduct allegations are not the subject of this post, but they do establish that Jameson allegedly has what some might call a very loose relationship with ethics and the law, if those allegations are true.
But now there’s one more allegation: Jameson is accused of trying pressure WKMS to not run a story about how he sometimes fails to wear pants around the courthouse.
According to commission documents and an interview with WKMS staff, Jameson learned a WKMS reporter had filed a records request for video footage he believed would show Jameson roaming the Marshall County Judicial Building partially dressed.
When Jameson learned of the records request, he called Chad Lampe, who was the station manager for WKMS at the time. According to the Judicial Conduct Commission’s charging documents, Jameson pressured Lampe not to pursue the story, saying he had contacted higher-ups at Murray State University, which holds the license for WKMS.
This would be wildly unethical on its face, obviously, but here’s where things get really stupid. The records request had already been denied by the Administrative Office, Lampe had already decided not to appeal that decision, and had even decided not to run the story by the time Jameson had phoned him up to play strongman. He was pressuring a news organization over something that was already not going to happen anyway, with the news organization determining that this was not something newsworthy.
Unlike, say, a judge pressuring a news organization to bury a story, which absolutely is newsworthy. And now that the Judicial Conduct Commission caught wind of all this and is now leveling more allegations against Jameson, guess what’s now all over the news?
The commission found Jameson’s actions violated numerous judicial codes of conduct, including a duty to comply with the law and act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. The commission also found Jameson violated codes of conduct that prohibit a judge from abusing their power to advance personal interests.
And now the story about Jameson strolling around the courthouse sans pants is getting broad coverage. Previous to the attempt to bury the story, the whole thing looks like it was never going to see the light of day.
And that is roughly as clear-cut an instance of the Streisand Effect in action as there could be.
Filed Under: chad lampe, freedom of information, jamie jameson, kentucky, pants, streisand effect, transparency