News | Bailey and Wyant PLLC | Blogger Norman Alderman

Posted on March 19, 2013


Alderman writes a blog, The Pocahontas Commentator

Blogger Norman Alderman is a cyber hero who is poised to reforge West Virginia Internet laws, James Fredrick Jensen today announced.

Toronto/Ontario, Canada

Currently a defendant in a defamation lawsuit, Alderman writes a blog, The Pocahontas Commentator.  Since 2011 it has put an unflattering lens to political, police and judicial goings on in Pocahontas County, WV.

“The Internet is a wide frontier with vast capacity to challenge traditional bullies and other privileged interests,” said Jensen. “Norman is so much more than a blogger.  He’s a defender of democratic participation and an evangelist for free speech.”

Cited in the lawsuit by plaintiffs Robert P Martin and Charles R Bailey, Alderman is accused of defamation expressed over the Internet.   Bloggers everywhere and organizations dedicated to protecting Internet freedom watch with interest, weighting this case as an important test of inadequate and outdated WV statutes.

In principle, the affidavit filed against Alderman is invalid given WV statutes do not directly address defamation by Internet blog.  For instance, Martin, who stood unsuccessfully in the 2012 runoff for Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney, relies on antiquated law to pursue Alderman for interfering with democratic process via publication.

Remarkably, in his affidavit Martin seems to blame Alderman’s blogging observations for his election loss. However, the statute Martin invokes refers only to newspapers and some periodicals; a blog is neither and therefore has no status under current WV laws related to election process interference.

Further, Martin and Bailey have not complied with due process as set out under Internet defamation protocol in advance of filing their affidavit.  Modern protocol requires a formal request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) before other legal avenues can be pursued. To-date, there is no record of such a request from either Martin or Bailey as regards their complaint against Alderman.

Appointed Assistant Prosecutor for the county in February 2013, Martin’s affidavit is filed as a private citizen with co-plaintiff Bailey, managing partner in Bailey and Wyant PLLC. Their affidavit also cites third party blogs posted by “Jim Jenson” [sic] and reposted by Alderman.  In his own posts Jensen treats his longstanding and comprehensively documented disputes with Martin and his former law firm Bailey and Wyant.

Recently the Bailey and Wyant firm formally requested through DMCA the takedown of Jensen’s blog posts regarding his dispute with them.These requests were denied under the Act as Jensen’s posts were deemed appropriate for the Internet and, therefore, not defamatory.  By extension, they are not defamatory in The Pocahontas Commentator.

“At its heart this lawsuit seeks to strike a free speech chill,” said Jensen. “Anyone interested in preserving Internet freedom and free speech should follow and support Norman Alderman’s cause.  It concerns us all.”

James Fredrick Jensen is a private citizen blogger.