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    April 4, 2009 at 11:48 a.m.

  • Hide the ball!

    April 4, 2009 at 10:49 a.m.

  • Common Sense was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was published anonymously.

    April 4, 2009 at 10 a.m.

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    April 4, 2009 at 9:03 a.m.

  • If you're going to convict @chriscobler of tweeting about the case, I would ask you this question. Did you check to see who he was following (whose tweets he was reading) during the time while he was restricted from discussing the case?

    April 4, 2009 at 12:15 a.m.

  • well i was one that kept up with the tweeter thingy.. I really like it and think the feed back from the courthouse to whomever it was was doing a good job..

    April 3, 2009 at 10:59 p.m.

  • It's good to be king!

    April 3, 2009 at 10:33 p.m.

  • It's late, and I'm signing off. Not sure why I'm still here on a Friday night, but I'll try to answer your last question, Mr. Thomas. You can go to and find all of my Tweets. It's no secret. You can see my last post about this case was Tuesday morning.

    Twitter is transparent -- as long as you sign in with your real name. It's a wonderful reporting tool, which is why I blogged about it in the first place.

    April 3, 2009 at 10:17 p.m.

  • sjrNkaty, just how exactly do you know that Chris and Gabe read the Twitter Tweets? Maybe they glanced down, saw them and then deleted or escaped the screen. You have no idea what they saw.

    And as far as conspiracy theories - don't we have enough with Mr. Tyler accusing every person in Victoria of conspiracy every 3 minutes? And I'm pretty sure that Mr. Tyler discredited himself - he didn't need any help.

    Did anyone else notice the not-so-veiled threat against Mr. Cobler on here by southtexasguy? Another attempt from the DA's office to silence the truth and oppress the opinions?

    April 3, 2009 at 9:31 p.m.

  • Yes, I'm sure. I was Twittering before we argued our motion to quash the subpoena. At that point, I was not under any restrictions.

    April 3, 2009 at 9:27 p.m.

  • LBB,

    Perhaps the judge and jury on this thread missed it, but Gabe and I weren't Twittering about the case. Others on staff were doing the posting and the reporting. Gabe and I stayed as far away from the case as possible.

    April 3, 2009 at 9:20 p.m.

  • Katy,

    I agree with you about the power of the public. The press has always been just a representative of the people. We promote social interaction on this site because we believe in the power of the public.

    That said, all power must be used responsibly. Anonymous comments from people with a clear agenda hardly qualify as responsible and should be treated as such. For example, who thinks SouthTexasGuy and Avenger are one and the same and work in a certain downtown government building? We hope most reasonable readers are able to distinguish between credible information and deliberate propaganda, but that's certainly a risk with such a forum. We hope the good outweighs the bad, but you can't be sure.

    April 3, 2009 at 8:45 p.m.

  • It kind of has the ring of a suicide pact.........and I honestly I don't say that in a mean-spirited way. It just feels like the moment just prior to the big finale at the 4th of July fireworks display, The Last Hurrah.

    April 3, 2009 at 6:34 p.m.

  • And...I will ensure that both Judge Cheshire and the District Attorney are aware of your Twittering activities while under court order. We'll let the court decide if it was a violation...not you and the Advocate lawyers.

    April 3, 2009 at 2:03 p.m.

  • Mr. now you are saying that people who post anonymously have less credibility? If that's true, then why do YOU allow it? If you wanted everyone to bare their identities YOU have the power to require that, don't YOU?

    You are being rather two-faced about all of this. You say that you welcome a reader's opinions, but you then you don't mention that anyone who tells you their opinion anonymously has less credibility.

    It's funny that you only mention the "less credibility" of an anonymous poster when that poster disagrees with you. Yet, you thank people for their compliments even when those compliments are given anonymously.

    And as far as being transparent, yes, the Advocate has been transparent. Transparently biased since the very beginning. This became very obvious within a couple days of the indictments...when the Advocate Editorial Board (without knowing what all the evidence was) publicly proclaimed the men innocent and began their campaign of discrediting the DA through a series of editorials AND news stories.

    April 3, 2009 at 1:58 p.m.

  • I'm curious as to how a reporter impartially does his job after publicly taking ownership of a particular side of a story? Would that not be a conundrum?

    April 3, 2009 at 1:39 p.m.

  • Katy,

    Thanks for providing a tad bit more information. If the judge wants to discuss it with me or our lawyer, he certainly knows how to reach us. If the concern is knowledge of trial testimony, I probably also should stop delivery of the newspaper and stop coming to work for the duration of the trial. Despite my best efforts to avert my gaze and walk away from conversations, I'm exposed to much more information through those means than through Twitter.

    South Texas, I always appreciate knowing who I'm talking with. People who are anonymous carry much less credibility than those willing to stand by their comments. I think most everyone would agree with this view.

    And, yes, I find this entire case very frustrating. We've attempted to be entirely transparent about it from the start. After almost two years of this, I am tired of the conspiracy theories regarding the Advocate. We've been covering the case, and that's it. We have no motivation to protect anyone.

    We asked the real question in all of this back in our Oct. 28, 2007, article: Who knew what and when? We continue to seek this answer despite a variety of legal and other roadblocks thrown in our way.

    April 3, 2009 at 1:23 p.m.

  • Chris, let's see if I can answer all your questions.
    I'm interested in the case because I lived and worked in Victoria for 5 years. I have family and friends there and visit often. This is a case that questions the integrity of city and county officials as well as that of the Advocate, it's owners, and employees. It affects everyone.
    I'm not an attorney but watching you trying to justify your actions makes me even more suspicious of you. You've only recently started using Twitter in your business and it is not crucial to your job. Any reasonable person would have just not accessed Twitter for the duration of the Judge's order. The rest of your comments are just your excuse for defying an order of the court. It's your duty to obey even if you have to take an unpaid vacation on your own tab.
    We've seen many examples of what you and others have claimed were facts but turned out to be opinions of bitter people who didn't get their way.
    Twittering is something that should be allowed in the courts, but it's misuse by irresponsible people will likely get it banned.

    April 3, 2009 at 12:57 p.m.

  • SjrNKaty...sounds like you touched a nerve with the editor.

    Mr. Cobler...Since when did it matter if an out of town person takes an interest in local news stories? If a person had supported your position, would you have asked them the same question? Why does it matter?

    You know for a fact that there are plenty of bloggers and posters that live out of town. Yet, I don't see you questioning why they are interested in local issues.

    Perhaps Judge Cheshire should take a look at this issue.

    April 3, 2009 at 12:44 p.m.

  • Chris, did the judge give you the admonition to you as a journalist or to you as a witness? Did you consult your attorney on the twitter issue? What was the legal opinion on following twitter? As you mentioned, everyone is struggling to define social networking communications like twitter. My hunch is that you all really didn't think reading and following twitter was akin to discussing the trial since a 146 character tweet (even lots of them) doesn't provide very much information. For what it is worth, I like the twitter coverage of the trial ... but I'm not a witness or a potential juror.

    April 3, 2009 at 12:11 p.m.

  • Little Blue Book,

    I certainly hope the judge wouldn't take such a step.

    April 3, 2009 at 11:49 a.m.

  • Katy,

    What makes our case in Victoria of such interest to you from Katy? Do you have any legal background for your opinion?

    I ask because Gabe and I are both observing the judge's ruling to the best of our ability as journalists. He didn't order either of us to take paid vacations out of town, which would be about the only to be totally away from this case. (I'd be happy to take a court-paid trip to the Bahamas if that's available.)

    We both are on Twitter, but that doesn't mean we read all of the Tweets. I follow about 170 people and definitely don't read everything posted there.

    I also get the newspaper delivered to my house each morning and work in a newsroom surrounded by people discussing stories. After the judge invoked the witness rule, I advised others in the newsroom to discuss the story after I left the daily news meetings. I quit reading and editing these stories, which is a particularly onerous burden for the top editor of the paper to not be working on the top story of the day.

    If the judge wants to give us further instructions about this highly unusual case, we'll be happy to listen, of course, and review with our attorney. We already know so much about the case I don't see how anything yet to be disclosed would change any potential testimony by us. Actually, I know it wouldn't change any testimony because the facts are the facts.

    April 3, 2009 at 11:47 a.m.

  • Twittering court news is a great thing but in this case there's a little problem. Judge Cheshire ordered Chris Cobler and Gabe Semenza not to read or discuss the case. Chris and Gabe follow the reporters tweeting the hearing so they are getting the news they were ordered not to. Follow Chris, Gabe, Tom, Sonny, and Leslie on Twitter. Then read the tweets each of them have made paying special attention to the times and dates. Chris and Gabe were on Twitter getting the tweets they were ordered not to review. Now go back and read the articles written by these guys and see for yourself how they are working in concert with the accused officials. Now they are stooping to defying a court order to do their dirty job. These guys should be fired immediatly and brought before Judge Cheshire.

    April 3, 2009 at 11:15 a.m.