Buhl declines rehab program
The criminal case involving Teri Buhl, the 38-year-old New Canaan journalist charged with harassing a local teen and interfering with a police officer, will begin pretrial proceedings May 3 after declining a rehabilitation program Tuesday in court, according to her attorney, Chris Caldwell.
"The state's offer to file for pretrial accelerated rehabilitation was respectfully declined and, therefore, withdrawn. The defendant filed a motion for bill of particulars seeking to have the state specify the exact acts or omissions it claims constitutes the elements of each of the crimes charged." Caldwell said.
Accelerated rehabilitation would have allowed for Buhl's charges to be dropped had she completed a two-year program.
In November, Buhl pleaded not guilty in the Norwalk Superior Court on charges of second-degree harassment, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with a police investigation.
The charges were issued after police said Buhl posted sensitive personal journals of her boyfriend's 17-year-old daughter on Facebook. Buhl claims that all of these charges and issues stem from a story she is writing on underage drinking.
The "no contact" order imposed on Buhl at her last court appearance on Dec. 20 still stands. The state's order includes all forms of contact including mail and phone, Judge Maureen Dennis explained.
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Buhl has not violated that order.
"So I can't call to get comments for the story?" Buhl asked at her Dec. 20 appearance.
"Well I'm sure if you are a writer then you understand what I mean by no contact," Dennis replied.
"I'm still going to write the story," she said after her court appearance Dec. 20.
Caldwell has stressed that the issue here has to do with First Amendment rights.
"Because this case involves the criminal prosecution of a bona fide journalist working on a topic of great public importance -- permissive underage drinking and drug use -- we have to take extra care to insure that the First Amendment freedoms at issue are protected from an improper and chilling application of the criminal law."
Caldwell said his client has talked to several publications to gauge their interest in an underage drinking story, but would not specify any by name.