Apr 232010
 April 23, 2010  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Online

In for a penny, in for a pound? As if it was not enough to reveal the possible identity of an anonymous commenter on their web site, the Plain Dealer now goes further and attempts to link Judge Strickland Saffold to a second anonymous commenter’s account. James F. McCarty reports:


Comments under the two usernames cover many of the same topics, criticize many of the same people, misspell some of the same words and use identical colloquialisms. They also both stopped posting comments on the same day, March 19, for unknown reasons.

Saffold has denied making the lawmiss comments about cases in her courtroom, but she has declined to be interviewed about whether she posted governmentwatcher comments.


The Plain Dealer filed a request for public records showing all websites visited by the desktop computer assigned to Saffold. The computer is in Saffold’s private chambers, across a hallway from her courtroom. County computer servers keep track of the time and date and Web domain of each site visited by each computer on a county server. The servers take note every time a computer user hits the “enter” button, to visit a website, refresh a Web page or submit an online comment.

In response to the newspaper’s request, the court administrator provided 849 pages of data, detailing all Internet activity by Saffold’s computer from Jan. 4. Through March 19. Earlier records are unavailable. The newspaper compared the dates and times that Saffold’s computer visited pages on cleveland.com to the dates and times that comments were left by lawmiss and governmentwatcher.

Altogether, 50 lawmiss and governmentwatcher comments were posted within two minutes of Saffold’s computer clicking on a page at cleveland.com or an affiliated site, advance.net, the analysis found.

Read more on Cleveland.com.

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