The Detroit News
March 7, 2012A Wayne Circuit Court Judge on Wednesday ordered an animal rights activist to scrub her social media sites of any threatening statements about a Wayne State University professor who does research that involves animals.
Judge Susan L. Hubbard told Camille Marino that she could return to her home in central Florida pending a trial on May 2. But as a condition of her bond, the judge told Marino to remove threatening statements and personal information about professor Donal O’Leary, and refrained from making more threatening statements in the blogosphere before a trial that will be held in May.
Marino was arrested in Florida last month and extradited to Michigan last week after violating a personal protection order sought by O’Leary in late October. The WSU professor and director of Cardiovascular Research sought the PPO after comments and his home address were posted on a “Negotiation is Over” blog and social media sites and he received emails from her and others that lead him to fear for his safety.
“If you continue to engage in posting where you are threatening him and he’s in fear, you are violating the law,” Hubbard said. “Keep it peaceful and nonthreatening.”
Hubbard also ruled that the Wayne County court had jurisdiction over the case, even though Marino’s attorney, John F. Royal, argued that it should be dismissed because of lack of jurisdiction.
Royal said he thought the judge spoke prematurely about Marino’s speech violating the law, and was disappointed that she ruled that the court had jurisdiction over the case. He plans on filing a motion that Marino has a First Amendment right to make statements about O’Leary’s research.
“We are disappointed that the court did not see the merit in our position that this courts lack the personal jurisdiction over Ms. Marino,” Royal said. “We are gratified she is allowed to return to her home in Florida as a condition of her bond pending further hearing on this case.”
Marino and her supporters would be able to continue to protest, Royal said. He would advise Marino’s supporters on how to phrase their concerns in the next few months while this issue is pending, and Marino’s websites would be cleaned up “soon.”
“Our position is that everything that was posted so far is protected by the First Amendment,”
O’Leary — along with his attorney, Daniel J. Bernard — declined to comment.
His work at WSU investigates the cardiovascular system at rest and during stress, including experiments with dogs.
Marino said she is convinced that scientists like O’Leary are secretly subjecting animals to unconscionable acts by conducting experiments on animals, and the public needs to be made aware of them.
That’s why she’s engaged in an aggressive grassroots campaign to shut down researchers, including O’Leary — who has also been the subject of investigation by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Royal said O’Leary can’t prove she wrote postings on the blog, which includes statements such as the professor is a “serial torture-murderer” and “a piece of human excrement.”
Earlier Wednesday, Marino said O’Leary is imprisoning animals, then torturing them by implanting devices in their bodies and putting them on treadmills “until their little bodies give out.”
“You tell me why he shouldn’t get the attention of my community,” Marino said. “Our job is to take a sledgehammer and expose what they are doing in secrecy.”