Judge Rules That Press Can Use Perp Walk Photos; Freedom Of The Press Lives

from the phew dept

Last month, we were troubled by the fact that a judge in NY was even considering barring local newspapers from using photos of a politician handcuffed in their news coverage about him. The judge was afraid it could bias a jury, but the newspapers pointed to that whole "freedom of the press" bit. Vince writes in to let us know that the judge has in fact allowed the press to use the photos, correctly noting that the First Amendment issue seems to outweigh the others. Still, it remains troubling that the question even lingered as long as it did, and that the judge needed to justify the decision with such precise details (including the idea that it was okay because NY is a large metro area, and because the time difference between the photos and the trial). It seems like it should be pretty straightforward that a court shouldn't be able to get involved in the editorial decisions of a newspaper, so long as what the newspaper is printing is truthful.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:35am

    Part of that question is the "forced" perp walk, where police and prosecutors work it out to make sure that when a high profile person is arrested, that the media is on hand to get the shot.

    It is creating the appearance of guilt, where none may exist. Intentional use of perp walks is a pretty nasty thing.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:15am

    You say that like the media wouldn't of heard about the arrest warrant and taken the pictures anyways...

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:17am

    Re:

    The "perp walk" just means you've been arrested.

    It's safe to assume that the jury would already know that the person there has been arrested...

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    inc, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:23am

    Well if he's innocent until proven guilty then what's the problem? Isn't this the same logic the politicians use to strip you of your privacy?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:52am

    Re:

    Ya, yer right ... cause you never see pics of perps who aren't "somebody" being led to their cell

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    Blind Justice ?

    Seems that the judge is not too concerned about the perp walk of nobodies.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Vasco DaGameboy, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:28am

    This is only tangentially connected to technology. It's more directly related to the favorite topic here - the rights of the individual particularly as they apply to free media downloads. Techdirt has become primarily a sounding board for screeds against those who claim for whatever reason a hearing for their property rights, and it's starting to sound like a bunch of Jr. High Schoolers who don't want to pay for their Korn MP3s. I agree that the RIAA has gone el loco, but please give me a justification for this story on TechDirt, other than that it buttresses the arguments for the poster's favorite cause.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    no u

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    Re:

    It's here because Mike will link to this story a couple of months from now with terms like "judges side with the media" or "courts support free speech", attempting to bootstrap enough one of his platform planks into being.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Phoenix, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:09am

    Easy solution - select jurors from the list of people who aren't ready for DTV yet. These people are so clueless that the chance they will be up to speed on current events is close to nil.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    Bri (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:23am

    Does bring up a larger issue

    Should the media be able to publish photos of alleged criminals? I would say that mugshots should not be released to the media until someone has been proven guilty. This is especially salient in issues of underage pornography busts where the associated stigma could literally ruin someone's life. Don't get me wrong, the guilty ones are the scum of the earth, but in the court of public opinion just having your picture up there is enough to convict you.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Josh, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    From the About link at the top of THIS page:

    "Started in 1997 by Floor64 founder Mike Masnick and then growing into a group blogging effort, the Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow."


    Please read the last sentence of the paragraph.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Ben, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    You know..

    You've just been arrested, you're having a really crappy day, the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing doesn't seem to apply to you, and you have mobs of assholes with cameras getting in your face and screaming dumbass questions at you.

    You know, it kinda makes wonder if after you've been found innocent you could sue both the media outlets and the reporters (make sure they're homeless, destitute and blackballed from ever working in the media again) so that nobody else will ever have to walk the gauntlet.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    Re:

    Yeah, but sometimes, like when someone's getting frog-marched out and then folded up into a squad car. Yeah, then it might make sense to prevent your jury from seeing it.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    Re: Blind Justice ?

    The perp walk of nobodies seldom makes the news.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re: You know..

    Nah, it doesn't make me wonder that.

     

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  17.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    Re: You know..

    So "presumed innocent until proven guilty" should mean "stifle 1st amendment rights until proven guilty"? I mean I know it would suck, but isn't there such a thing as a false arrest lawsuit?

     

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  18.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    This is only tangentially connected to technology.

    It's about first amendment rights -- which we talk about on quite a regular basis.

    Techdirt has become primarily a sounding board for screeds against those who claim for whatever reason a hearing for their property rights,

    Huh? We're 100% in favor of property rights. I'm not sure why you're suggesting otherwise. What we disagree with are those who try to extend property rights beyond the purpose of property.

    but please give me a justification for this story on TechDirt, other than that it buttresses the arguments for the poster's favorite cause.

    Again it is a 1st amendment issue -- which is a topic we have written about extensively since the beginning of the site.

    We write about what we find interesting. Many of our readers find these posts interesting as well.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: You know..

    I know it would suck, but isn't there such a thing as a false arrest lawsuit?

    You think so? Well, you opened your mouth with it, so go ahead now and explain how that works.

    Waiting...

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Does bring up a larger issue

    "Should the media be able to publish photos of alleged criminals?"

    In the case of hot chicks, I think they should publish photos of body cavity searches too.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Idaho Potato Commisioner, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    and the whole "being arrested" thing would not have the same impact? Remember jurors are the people that were to dumb to get out of jury duty.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    debunker, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: You know..

    "I know it would suck, but isn't there such a thing as a false arrest lawsuit?"

    In the United States, police officers and other government officials are shielded from false arrest lawsuits through a process known as "qualified immunity".

    Try again.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re: Blind Justice ?

    really ?
    do you watch the news ?

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    JoeNYC, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    Rights of the Press

    I'm tired of the same old premise that First Amendment rights are unconditional. They're not (remember the "you can't yell FIRE in a crowded movie theater" example?).

    While I agree that the judge ruled appropriately, the author's indignation that the issue was ever entertained is misplaced.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    JoeNYC, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Perp Walks

    Remember that perp walks are "staged", they're timed for the cameras. Would ANY photo be ok? What is a guy is charged with armed robbery and was forced to hold a gun for the cameras??

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Rights of the Press

    I'm tired of the same old premise that First Amendment rights are unconditional. They're not (remember the "you can't yell FIRE in a crowded movie theater" example?).

    And I'm tired of people falsely claiming that "you can't yell FIRE in a crowded movie theater."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shouting_fire_in_a_crowded_theater

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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