Superior Court Judge Allan van Gestel‘s contempt for privacy ought to concern all of us. And his latest is hardly the first time he’s made a dubious decision involving the rights of individuals.
Van Gestel recently ordered the ticket service StubHub to turn over the names of about 13,000 customers to the New England Patriots as part of the team’s crackdown on ticket scalping (Globe story here; Herald story here). In a particularly ridiculous gesture, van Gestel ordered the Patriots not to reveal the names to anyone else. But isn’t it the Patriots from whom those customers were most trying to conceal their identities?
Van Gestel is also the judge who’s blocked Herald columnist Howie Carr from taking his talk show from WRKO (AM 680) to WTKK (96.9 FM). I’m not going to argue the legalities of noncompete clauses, right-to-match provisions and the like. Morally, though, there’s something reprehensible about telling Carr he can’t work for any radio station but WRKO until 2012, even though Carr’s contract expired last month.
And say, your honor, does Carr have any recourse regarding the “Virtual Howie” that’s now online at the WRKO Web site?
Finally, in 2000 I bestowed upon Judge van Gestel a Phoenix Muzzle Award for his mind-boggling decision to impose prior restraint on a group of anti-gay activists who had recorded a sex-education session for teenagers and were playing it for anyone who cared to listen.
What the anti-gay hatemongers did was contemptible. It also happened to be protected by the First Amendment, which van Gestel later acknowledged by removing the media from his order.