In an unusual decision, a New Jersey judge barred a Trenton newspaper from publishing articles on a five-year-old boy who authorities said had taken heroin and crack cocaine to school, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The state argued that publication of information about the case would harm the confidentiality of the proceedings. Such cases of “prior restraint” typically are deemed to breach First Amendment protections once they reach the appellate level, if not before.
Superior Court Judge Craig Corson issued a temporary restraining order in October banning the Trentonian newspaper from publishing details of a confidential child-abuse complaint obtained by the newspaper. David Bralow, a First Amendment lawyer at the law firm Pepper Hamilton, representing the newspaper, said, “The reason why prior restraints are such an extraordinary remedy is that they prevent speech from happening at its inception.” The Trentonian has published extensive details of the case as it battles the judge’s order barring it from divulging the content of the state’s abuse complaint.