Judge Denies Request for Release of Online Commentators’ Information

U.S District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays rejected a request by the Shelby County Commission to compel the Commercial Appeal to release identifying information about those who commented on stories related to the public controversy over the reorganization of Shelby County’s public schools. The commission’s lawyers filed a motion to force the Memphis newspaper to comply with a July subpoena requesting commenters’ identifying information in order to help prove the new state laws enabling municipal school districts in suburban Shelby County was motivated in part by racially discriminatory intent. Judge Mays denied the motions stating, “The information sought by the commission is not relevant to the underlying issue to be decided and is not an appropriate subject of discovery in this case."