Libel Takedown Litigation

Connecticut Prosecution for Forgery of Court Order, Aimed at Getting Article Altered or Deindexed

The defendant, Imani Pennant, reportedly said that there's a web site that helps people create such orders.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The incident happened last year, but I thought it was still worth mentioning, especially given my past blogging on similar matters (see, for instance, here and here). From the Manchester, Conn. Journal-Inquirer (Matthew P. Knox):

A former University of Connecticut student is accused of creating a fake court document that wrongly showed criminal charges against him were dismissed, then used it to try and convince Google to remove the link between his name and an arrest story about him, according to the affidavit supporting his arrest.

The former student, Imani Pennant, 22, of Windermere, Florida, was also accused of using the fake court document to try and convince the news site, which wrote the original arrest story about him in March [2017], to reflect that charges against him had been dismissed, the affidavit said.

Here's the forged order:

And here's an excerpt from the police report, which reports that Pennant said there was a web site that helped people create such forgeries, though unfortunately I couldn't get any information on what that site was (the police didn't seem to have it, either):

14) … Pennant provided both verbal and written statements regarding the document at issue in this case. In these statements Pennant provided the following: that after his arrest in March by UConn Police, he noticed an article online at the about the incident; that his friends saw the article as well; that he felt the article was an unfair portrayal of the incident; that he wanted the article removed or changed; that in order to do this he went online to a web site and generated a fake court document with his personal details inserted; that he printed the document, took a picture of the document with his Samsung Galaxy S7 phone, and sent it to both and the; that he sent it to the author of the original article so that he would remove or amend the article; that he sent it to to request that his name be removed from the search engine results that link to the article; that he is sorry; that creating and sending this fake document was a mistake, that he meant no disrespect to the court, and that it will never happen again….

15) … [T]hese facts show lmani Pennant created and possessed a written instrument purporting to be officially issued by the Connecticut Superior Court with the intent to deceive both Google and the Accordingly, this Affiant requests that an arrest warrant be issued for lmani Pennant for 2 counts of Forgery in the 2nd degree.

The charges against Pennant are still pending, with a hearing scheduled for next week. The forged order was similar in some ways to the forgery in the Ken Haas matter (also coming out of Connecticut), though no charges have been filed in that case. Many thanks to the Lumen Database for invaluable research help.

NEXT: Good News and Bad News About Campus Speech Codes

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  1. I do not know what language a real Connecticut dismissal would look like for a criminal matter in Connecticut, but if that is, I am rather concerned about it.

    1. What’s wrong with ordering him not to have contact with the state of Connecticut? All he has to do is move or start flying!

    2. So, no taxes? Sounds good.

  2. “Pennant said there was a web site that helped people create such forgeries, though unfortunately I couldn’t get any information on what that site was (the police didn’t seem to have it, either)”

    Most likely it was just an online PDF editor (Sejda is an example that lets you edit text in existing PDFs) rather than a dedicated forged-court-order-creation site.

  3. Aren’t there websites that have sample/suggested formats for when one is doing pro se legal documents.

    1. Wow, “pro se” is just “prose” with a space stuck in.

      Suggesting that true poetry requires a lawyer.

  4. Now they’re going to be skeptical when I show them my divorce order from Cher and the accompanying order dividing her assets.

  5. That Judge Darrah really gets around.

  6. This suggests an interesting follow-up:

    What would be the legal situation if the fake order was in the name of a court that doesn’t exist? Would the fraudster get away with it because anyone fooled by it should have already known that, or should have done due diligence before relying on it?

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