he doesn't quite get what he's done.
District Attorney Jim Miller was so outraged by what people wrote about him on a local message board that he filed a police complaint.
The ensuing investigation and subpoena targeting 35 anonymous posters have caused a firestorm stretching far beyond McAlester's city limits.
A journalism professor and First Amendment advocate calls Miller's actions "the kind of thing you'd expect in a police state."
Miller counters that free speech has restrictions. The allegations written about him on a site called the McAlester Watercooler (mccooler.net) are so offensive that he is the victim of a crime, Miller claims.
It's pretty much a given that, for a public figure like a DA, you're going to have people say things about you, good and bad. For him to get so bent out of shape about anonymous comments on a website that he does this... At the least makes him look pretty thin-skinned. At the most?
Miller said he provided police with comment threads on the site about him from 10 dates since October 2007.
That prompted two McAlester police detectives to show up at McCooler administrator Harold King's door Tuesday. They delivered a subpoena requiring King to produce identifying information about 35 people who posted under pseudonyms on the site.
King filed a formal objection Thursday, saying he won't comply because the subpoena doesn't indicate on whose authority it was issued.
A legal expert told The Oklahoman that only a judge or a prosecutor can authorize such a subpoena. Miller said he didn't authorize it; he simply filed a police complaint "like any other citizen.”
Whether Miller formally authorized the subpoena or not, it "smacks of intimidation,” said Joey Senat, past president of Freedom of Information Oklahoma and an associate professor of journalism at Oklahoma State University.
Yes, it does. And there's also the question, if he didn't authorize the subpoena, and a judge didn't, where the hell did it come from? Did the police pop out the form because the DA wanted it done? Questions that need answers.