Joliet, IL. (ECWd) -
UPDATE: The Circuit Judge issuing this (what we consider unconstitutional) Order is Judge J. Jeffery Allen of the 12th Circuit.
In a rare move, a Will County Circuit Court Judge issued a prior restraint (gag) order against the family and interested parties of Chester Siniawski, who is in "hospice" care at the Joliet Area Community Hospice located in Will County. This gag order was for family members and interested parties to remove all postings and videos relating to the proceedings pending in the Circuit Court of Will County regarding Chester Siniawski.
I gag order, or prior restraint order is an extraordinary controversial issue when applied to people and media (who are not in a jury, etc) - especially for a civil issue.
As we understand the issue, Chester had a stroke and was later sent to the Joliet Area Community Hospice for further care. The family member guardian is trying to comply with Chester's "living will", while other family members do not believe it should apply to a situation where Chester is apparently coherent and able to speak.
Information we have received indicates that Chester is not a terminal patient, but a resident at the Hospice, taken there by his wife immediately after his stroke. After waking up from his stroke he has started speaking and moving.
Accusations have been floated that the Hospice is not taking proper care of Chester and in some cases may be a detriment to his health.
A family member filed a Motion in Will County Court to have a guardian ad lightum appointed to assess the situation - effective taking all other parties out of the decision making process for the time being. The Court appointed a guardian ad lightum - which is basically a "neutral third party".
After several days of no information or contact from the appointed guardian, a family member wrote of his displeasure with the guardian, and then the Court issued the Order attacking the First Amendment Rights of all interested parties - including ordering all previously posted material to be removed from the internet, social media, websites, etc.
According to the Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press, prior restraints are "viewed by the U.S. Supreme Court as “the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights” and have found that "such attempts to censor the media are presumed unconstitutional."
"Prior restraints are an immediate and irreversible sanction," calling it a "freezing" of speech much worse than the "chilling" of speech due to the threat of criminal or civil sanctions if the orders are violated.
We may post the videos and articles previously written in the near future as time becomes available since we are not part of the gag order and had captured each and every one of them as they were published.
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