Did Judge Logan err in his
Temporary Injunction Without Notice
to gag Ray Bradbury?

by Wes Fager (c) Oct. 24, 2003


[NOTICE. Let it be understood that Wesley Fager is not an attorney and is not qualified to give legal advice. Nor is he a medical doctor. He is not qualified to give medical advice or to make medical diagnoses. What he presents here is just good common horse sense and is offered, possibly, as a friend of the court in the matter of the Temporary Injunction Without Notice that continues to gag Ray Bradbury. Wesley Fager argues that the injunction seems to him, as a layman, to be in legal error and could be part of a tactic to use the court system to silence criticism of the wrong doings that occurred at Straight. Furthermore he questions, in a layman's sense, the ethics of the order. It is up to competent attorneys and judges to determine the actual legal merit of Wesley Fager's arguments--if there are legal merits.]

Click here for the Temporary Injunction Without Notice which has gagged Ray Bradbury from speaking out against the Semblers since August 26, 2003.

On December 19, 2002 Judge Walt Logan held a private session with attorney Leonard Englander representing his client Kane Furniture of Pinellas Park to discuss whether Englander could show sufficient cause for the court to issue a Temporary Injunction Without Notice to cause Manny Gonzalez to take down his web page www.kanes-furniture.com which was exposing alleged problems at Kane's. The grounds for the requested injunction is that the word Kane's™ is a registered trademark in Florida owned by Kane Furniture of Pinellas Park, Florida. The "Without Notice" clause to the injunction request means that there were special or extraordinary circumstances surrounding this case that should be sufficient to convince a judge to enjoin Mr. Gonzalez without giving Mr. Gonzalez a chance to defend himself. Judge Logan agreed that Gonzalez's web page confused people who were trying to get to www.kanesfurniture.com which is the official web page for Kane Furniture.

Nine months later on August 26, 2003 attorney Englander was before Judge Walt Logan again under almost identical circumstances. Once again Englander was representing a wealthy, high profile client with a controversial reputation about which citizens were exercising their right to freedom of speech to publicly disclose details of the controversy. This time his client was Ambassador Melvin Sembler, AO who has made a fortune building shopping centers and who is the founder of the controversial Straight juvenile drug rehabilitation program. (Perhaps curiously, Kane Furniture, Mel Sembler and Lenny Englander all have ties to the Florida Holocaust Museum.) Englander was before Judge Logan this time to shut up a man named Ray Bradbury who was responsible for closing Straight because of its reputation for criminal and despicable organized child abuse. Rummaging through Sembler's trash can three years ago looking for documents to verify The Great Straight Holocaust which is responsible for the intentional infliction of emotional distress on perhaps as many as 50,000 American teenagers, including Ray Bradbury, Bradbury came upon an item he had not expected to find: a penile pump (according to Sembler's subsequent lawsuit, more commonly referred to as a penis pump) that used to belong to Mel Sembler--until he discarded it.

Recently Ray Bradbury, at great risk to himself, advertised the device for sale on eBay to draw attention to the plight of Straight survivors many of whom could be suffering from Straight-induced Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Over 40 have committed suicide. The risk to Mr. Bradbury was that Sembler might sue (especially since Sembler has the financial resources to sue simultaneously hundreds of detractors who could expose what his Straight has done and because Straight and Sembler have a history of threatening to sue and of suing people.) In the ad Bradbury told who the original owner was and he briefly told the story of Sembler's Straight program. Now Mel Sembler is suing Bradbury for intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, trespassing and all that. As part of the civil process Sembler and his attorney Leonard Englander turned to Judge Logan to issue a Temporary Injunction Without Notice for the purposes of: (1) having the eBay ad immediately removed and to have Ray Bradbury turn over his newly found medical device back to its original owner; and (2) to prevent Ray Bradbury from "having any conduct whatsoever, in person or through others, directly or indirectly, with the Plaintiffs or their families." In other words Judge Logan had been asked to temporarily gag Ray Bradbury from mentioning Sembler in any context whatsoever. But how can a judge issue an order for a man to turn over his car, his television set, his penis pump or any of his other possessions without letting the man be present and shown cause why this is happening. And how can the judge allow Mel Sembler to continue his free speech to promote Straight, a never indicted criminal activity, and not let Ray Bradbury tell the factual basis of Straight's crimes and Mel Sembler's involvement in Straight?

This report describes how Judge Walt Logan may have erred in his decision to grant the injunction, and documents Straight's long history of using the courts begging the question, "does Mel Sembler and Straight use the courts to cover-up the misdeeds of Straight?". Finally the report addresses ethical issues surrounding the injunction and suggests that there may be cause for Judge Logan to have recused himself from the motion for the injunction. Supporting arguments are found in the following five enclosures:

Enclosure 1 Is Englander legal argument in error?
Enclosure 2 Would Judge Logan have had to recuse himself from the motion for an injunction had he allowed Bradbury to represent himself?
Enclosure 3 Englander prejudiced the judge against Ray Bradbury.
Enclosure 4 Is Sembler's suit against Bradbury part of a larger pattern of SLAPP suits by Straight and Sembler to silence detractors?
Enclosure 5 Judge Logan has a history of signing Temporary Injunctions Without Notice for Leonard Englander which silence opponents of his wealthy clients.

Melvin Sembler uses his free speech to promote what he did at Straight. He has made public statements like the following:

  • On October 31, 2001 in addressing the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, Sembler had this to say:
    In 1976 Betty and I helped found STRAIGHT, a nonprofit, adolescent drug treatment and rehabilitation program with branches across the US, which successfully treated and graduated more than 12,000 young people nationwide. For 17 years, I served as chairman of the board of STRAIGHT. Other than our children, nothing was more rewarding than this effort. Betty and I initially agreed that if we helped one child it would be worth all the effort. With 12,000 successful graduates . . . It was a gratifying accomplishment.
  • On Jan 15, 2003 in a speech given at Northwestern University, Sembler's alma mater, he had this to say about Straight:
    When Betty and I saw what a social and personal scourge illegal drugs was becoming in America, we decided to do something about that. That's why we founded and directed for many years a treatment program that rehabilitated over 12,000 young drug abusers. Through these activities, Betty and I became friends with the Bush family . . .
  • On September 22 less than a month after gagging Ray Bradbury from speaking out against his own activities with Straight, Ambassador Sembler was in Rome to kick off The Fifth International Drug Prevention Conference when he stated:
    I stand before you today not only as the united states ambassador to Italy, but also as someone who has been personally involved in trying to help solve the illegal drug issue. Since the '70's my wife Betty and I have been witnesses to the cruel reality that drug abuse debilitates users, shatters families, tears apart communities, and severely damages the most vulnerable of all of us - our children.
Straight has done a terrible thing and Ray Bradbury is trying to tell the world what happened, but Judge Logan won't let him. And yet Mel Sembler, the man behind Straight, is allowed to go all over the world and promote his own accomplishments at Straight. Because of what Richard Bradbury was doing, because of the protests being staged against Sembler, because of the Internet discussion forums discussing the controversial activities of Mel Sembler at Straight, because of the numerous Internet web pages speaking out against what happened at Straight and Mel Sembler's involvement in it, because of the letters being written to editors, to Congressmen, to the President and to the governor of Florida, for these reasons Mel Sembler intentionally, and finally, left out the name Straight in his September 22 speech. But it is Straight that hurled him to Rome to give that talk in the first place. Ray Bradbury is not the villain here Judge Logan, Mel Sembler is. How can you let Ambassador Sembler go around the world and crow about the great things he has done in drug rehabilitation? How can you send kids to a drug rehab program on whose boards sits Betty Sembler? How can you accept money from Straight Foundation's president? How can you do these things and then hold a secret hearing for the purpose of ordering Ray Bradbury to keep his mouth shut about what Mel Sembler did? How can you do that judge?