Friday, August 6, 2010

Judge Bars Pix of Murder Defendant; Rescinds Permission Given to Photog

Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Ang...Image via Wikipedia
You can't unclick a camera, your Honor.

The Associated Press reports this week that Superior Court Judge Hilleri G. Merritt ordered Los Angeles Times Photographer Al Seib to cease snapping pictures of murder defendant Alberd Tersargyan and not to publish any photos already taken of the 60-year-old defendant at his arraignment on charges of  murdering a prostitute, and the husband and 8-year-old daughter of a woman he also is accused of killing to which he previously entered a not guilty plea.

Judge Merritt earlier had approved Seib's written request to photograph the defendant, but backtracked when defense counsel objected to pictures being taken.  The prosecutor voiced no opposition to Seib. Judge Merritt took counsel to task for not addressing the issue of  picture-taking before the hearing.

Judge Merritt voiced concern about prejudicing the defendant if pictures of him in an orange prison jumpsuit were to appear in the newspaper. Attorneys for the Times are likely to appeal the order as an unconstitutional prior restraint on the daily's First Amendment rights.
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