[Insert Witty, Accurate Title]

I’m not an attorney, but I’m fairly certain the relevant CNN editor botched attached to this story:

A judge violated a juvenile’s free-speech rights when he placed her on probation for posting an expletive-laden entry on MySpace criticizing a school principal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

The three-judge panel on Monday ordered the Putnam Circuit Court to set aside its penalty against the girl, referred to only as A.B. in court records.

“While we have little regard for A.B.’s use of vulgar epithets, we conclude that her overall message constitutes political speech,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote in the 10-page opinion.

The state filed a delinquency petition in March alleging that A.B.’s acts would have been harassment, identity deception and identity theft if committed by an adult. The juvenile court dropped most of the charges but in June found A.B. to be a delinquent child and placed her on nine months of probation. The judge ruled the comments were obscene.

The title of the article?

First Amendment extends to MySpace, court says

I doubt that was up for consideration. The meat of the story seems to be whether the school’s punishment of the girl’s speech was constitutional. It doesn’t seem to matter that she posted her rant on MySpace, any more than if she’d written it on her arm and walked sleeveless around her local mall.

I know how hard it is to come up with effective, catchy titles from blogging for 3½ years. If I can’t be witty, I aim for accurate. Anything else is just a punt. I’m not charging for my product and I adhere to that. CNN should, as well.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think the judges had any business inserting the court’s opinion that it has little regard for her vulgar epithets. So what? If it has no bearing on how the case should be interpreted under the law, keep the subjective disdain out of the ruling. I might accept “While the court recognizes that A.B.’s use of vulgar epithets is unpopular, …” or some such pandering to community morals. I doubt it, but even then, speech is speech.