The article, reporter Campbell Robertson, appeared on page A14 of the Sunday, Jan. 12 issue of the nation's most prestigious newspaper. The article came after an almost three hour interview with Carol Shuler and an hour's worth of four separate interviews with Roger Shuler via telephone from the Shelby County Jail, where he has been incarcerated since Oct. 23 due to a lawsuit filed by Republican political figure Rob Riley.
Shuler said the article is a major victory for his contention that there are no grounds for an order of civil contempt against him and resulting incarceration. Shuler noted that the article contains a number of glaring inaccuracies, but overall he said that he is pleased with the attention The New York Times has shined on the issue of terroristic threats against journalists and bloggers and those who support free speech. Following is one excerpt from the article that includes an expert's assertion that the actions of Alabama Circuit Judge Claud Neilson are unconstitutional:
"...Mr. Shuler, 57, was arrested in late October on a contempt charge in connection with a defamation lawsuit filed by the son of a former governor. The circumstances surrounding that arrest, including a judge's order that many legal experts described as unconstitutional..."Robertson notes that Shuler is the only incarcerated journalist in the Western Hemisphere and points out that other countries that have imprisoned journalists in 2013 include China, Iran and Egypt. Alabama lawyer David Gespass voiced serious concerns about what has happened to Shuler in the Shuler case, "It seems to me that the judge's order was really way out of bounds." What about inaccuracies in the story and other issues it raises? We will address those in a series of upcoming posts.
"This is a profoundly important issue and while I'm disturbed about some of the inaccurate reporting in it, I applaud Campbell Robertson and The New York Times for their effort to shine light on an issue that the public needs to know about. This an important part of the process to educate readers worldwide about exactly what is going on in Alabama courts. And we will be taking a much closer look at issues that are raised in the days ahead," Shuler said.
The full article can be read at this link: Blogger's Incarceration Raises First Amendment Questions.