May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
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Quote of the Day - The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. - Winston Churchill
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Video Blogger Headed For Jail, And Likely To Stay There

Josh Wolf filmed a protest against capitalism in San Francisco, and then sold some of his video to local TV stations.  In the protest, an explosive device was placed under a police car and a policeman was injured.

Prosecutors sought a full copy of the videotape from Wolf, who fought back claiming a First Amendment right not to release the video.  Wolf is a blogger who writes The Revolution Will Be Televised.  He also claimed the journalist's privilege

Josh, whose online moniker is "Insurgent," was ordered to jail by the trial court, but freed while his appeal was pending.  A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit recently rejected the appeal out of hand, and the prosecutor just filed a motion to revoke his bail and return him to jail.

Josh remains defiant.

The First Amendment and the journalist's privilege likely don't cover Josh's situation.  First, he already released his video to television stations and put it out to the world.  He'd have a make a significant showing why the rest of the videotape was privileged.  He likely can't make that showing, although I haven't seen the videotape, so it's difficult to say one way or the other.  Second, the First Amendment isn't absolute, just like the journalist's privilege.  The real problem is that the video was filmed in a public environment, and if it's solely of the violence, then there's probably no source to protect, and nothing that would even invoke either protection.  Finally, the public interest in prosecuting violence likely outweighs any privileges that Josh would have in the videotape.

MIPTC predicts defeat for Josh's claims and a long time in jail if he remains defiant. 

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, September 15, 2006 at 12:38 Comments (0)


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