Monday, November 19, 2007

Independent ordered to turn over photos


A Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that the Santa Barbara Independent must turn over 350 photographs of a March 14 crime scene to the court, or face being held in contempt.
“A picture may be worth a thousand words,” said Judge Brian Hill before making his ruling. “That could be the case with any single photo.”

The Independent’s photos were subpoenaed by Deputy Public Defender Karen Atkins, the defense attorney for Ricardo “Ricky” Juarez, 14, who was charged with murdering Luis Angel Linares, 15, during a downtown gang brawl on March 14. Atkins said in an affidavit that the photos likely show people and circumstances not recorded in other media and are materially relevant to the preparation of her client’s defense.
Michael Cooney, an attorney representing the Independent, argued that the weekly paper should not have to turn over their unpublished photos because California’s Reporter’s Shield Law protects journalists from doing so under most circumstances.
Cooney said he had not yet discussed the possibility of appealing Hill’s decision with his client.
“The judge understood the principles involved and we disagreed as to the result in the context of the crime scene photographs,” Cooney said. “It’s pretty much a classic case where these conflicts of constitutional rights frequently are worked out at the appellate court level, but it’s a costly process and we need to discuss whether [or not] to go forward.”
The Independent can either turn the photos over on or before Nov. 28, or a contempt hearing will be held on Nov. 29, at which Hill said Paul Wellman, the paper’s photographer ...

For full story, see Today's Daily Sound

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