08 December 2005

"There's no privacy in a public courtroom!"

this is an audio post - click to play
Once we were outside, we could roll all the film (video) we desired. Anyway, such was the comment of First Amendment Foundation lawyer Jonathan Kaney, in winning a High Court Florida battle that would have limited courtroom access... ironically.... or perhaps not, in Hillsborough County, Florida. I'll be calling him.

In other news, an Illinois Appellate Court held that the purpose of the request for public information has no bearing on the right to access to it. "They [city officials] can't ask you why you want certain information and then pick and choose who they give information based on the reason." As you recall from the video "A Day in Nashua," we were denied court access because it appeared that it would be for "personal" use, despite the fact that our application clearly stated it would be sent to media sources such as police abuse.org.

And a Georgia Supreme Court even allowed a still camera to Court in a murder trial.

So why have we been rejected twice in New Hampshire, the "Live Free or Die" state, in a case that does not even involve murder or a question of National Security? I'm a former reporter for a weekly and a daily. One of my crew has made a documentary about an unsolved murder. Another has photographed Russian and other Heads of State for a living, and is studying to be a lawyer in the U.S. Are we not "media?" But the Court in King v. Timmons et al, 05-CV-217 ruled that we are not "media," but I respectfully disagree and noted my objections -- Right of Expression and the public's derivative Right to Know -- for the record.

For more about the most important Amendment to the United States Constitution, visit the Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press. I know I will; at times I'm feeling very much like a Black Man in White Country.

PS: In the top photo the 'fire' behind our heads is remarkable. My team is good; has earned the right to be anywhere that news happens, and to report it to anyone and everyone we deem appropriate -- because God forbid I should have to rely on WMUR for fair and balanced reporting.


Anonymous said...

Keep the faith CK, We are !!

Christopher King said...

Oh, I shall, my brother. I shall. See if you can round up a few bucks for the appeal; the Law should not be shrouded in mystery. How ironic the riddle/mystery/enigma comment about Russia when now a Russian cannot get through the mystery of practicing her craft here in the U.S.!

Anonymous said...

What judgement are you appealing? It will help my pitch to the people. Stay strong.

Christopher King said...

Okay. Here is where money is needed:

1. Chief Dunn's Depo.
2. Appeal money and research (largely using Orr & Reno's own briefs) for a law clerk to help appeal the denial of our media access in the 5 Dec. hearing on whether I have the right to post Depo. transcripts on this blawg.

If you read the cases I set forth in this very chapter you can see how serious this really is -- regardless of where anyone comes out on the merits of the Criminal or Civil cases themselves.

That having been said, the Free World must not be deprived the right to read Chief Dunn's Depo. testimony and I cannot think of one reason under the sun that it should not be available on my blawg once I pay for it and file it as an attachment to a Motion to Compel as I did for Defendant Timmons: He is a public official Under Oath on a matter not involving any pending investigation, sealed indictment or issue of National Security or anything private to him or to his family. That just about says it all.

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