Judge Apparently Thinks He Can Tell Newspaper Which Photos It Can Use

from the that-doesn't-seem-right... dept

Romenesko points us to the news that a judge is considering barring news organizations from showing photos of a handcuffed local legislator, Roger Corbin. Corbin was arrested on tax charges, and (not surprisingly), local news sources have shown photos of him in handcuffs. This seems both accurate and newsworthy. However, the judge seems to think that these photos could bias the jury, saying that it was “troubling” to him that the news organizations used the handcuffed photos rather than photos of Corbin back when he was an upstanding legislator. Of course, as the lawyer for the news organizations pointed out: “Courts do not get [into] telling the media what to publish.” The judge then apparently compared the handcuff photos to child porn in explaining that the First Amendment wasn’t absolute, and the gov’t could restrain the use of certain photos (apparently skipping over the incredibly high barrier normally used to justify anything of that nature). The judge hasn’t made a final decision yet, but even the fact that he’s considering telling newspapers that they can’t publish photos of a guy in handcuffs seems troubling.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: news12, newsday

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Judge Apparently Thinks He Can Tell Newspaper Which Photos It Can Use”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
41 Comments
Tonysays:

Prior Restraint, anyone????

Although the 6th Amendment gurantees a “trial by impartial jury…”, the Supreme Court has been very clear that Prior Restraint is not allowed except in extreme circumstances. (See Nebraska Press Ass’n V. Stuart, 427 U.S. 539 [1976]). The instant case is similar to Stuart, in that the judge wanted to suppress press activity in order to preserve the defendants 6th Amendment rights. The Supreme Court said no-go! I think the judge in this case should do a little research before he decides to do this. He won’t win.

Cyanid Pontifexsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Prior Restraint, anyone????

Unfortunately, you can’t fire Federal Judges, and such a ruling is not grounds for impeachment. Were he to do something that was grounds for impeachment, this decision of his could be used as additional evidence to impeach him, but sadly enough, there is effectively no harm that can be done to him because of this.

Cyanid Pontifexsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Prior Restraint, anyone????

Yes; however, impeachment is a difficult process. Congress basically shuts down during impeachment trials; because of this, they usually wait until they have several judges to impeach so they can be more efficient about it. We have had federal judges sitting in jail, still collecting their paychecks because Congress hasn’t gotten around to impeaching them.

Furthermore, a ruling like this does not constitute “bad behavior.” “Good behavior” generally refers to things such as murder, arson, rape, theft, etc. Of course, if Congress wanted to, they could impeach him for this; however, as I mentioned earlier, it would be unlikely.

Jasonsays:

Re: Prior Restraint, anyone????

Actually, in this case, Stuart may not apply because photos had already been publish and the order would have been to cease to publish.

An order to cease speech already taking place does not qualify as preemptive.

It’s also kinda stupid because once it’s out there, it’s out there.

Cyanid Pontifexsays:

Child Pornography is banned because it is considered obscene under the Miller test. Seeing a state legislature in handcuffs (even if they were fuzzy, vibrating handcuffs) is in no way obscene. In fact it could be argued that showing a local politician in handcuffs is political speech, which is the most protected category of speech by the First Amendment. Furthermore, as stated in New York Times v. United States, the government cannot exercise prior restraint on the press without showing that the publication of the materials they want to censor will cause grave and irreparable danger.

This judge clearly doesn’t understand the First Amendment. If he does order the papers to stop printing these pictures, they have the right and the responsibility to ignore his ruling.

What about reverse prejuidicialness?

“…the judge seems to think that these photos could bias the jury, saying that it was “troubling” to him that the news organizations used the handcuffed photos rather than photos of Corbin back when he was an upstanding legislator.”

If newspapers only show positive photos of people who have been arrested (which is all the photo says, it doesn’t say the person is guilty of anything) then would that prejudice the jury in favor of the defendant? Maybe they should show a photo of a before and after shot to even things out and be “fair” to all?! Newspapers aren’t in the “fair” business. They report accurately (we hope) the history of the days events and let others be the judges and commentators of history. Newspapers are about facts.

dennis Gillespiesays:

judge needs common sense

The judges name should definitely be printed with this article. He needs to own such an asinine idea, as some have said. Oh, there is the judge’s name. It is U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt. He is the judge who said the clever-less thing about judges should be able to control the media. Imagine that. Imagine a judge thinks he should have the power to control the free press. U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt thinks he should be able to control the free press to the point of censoring a photograph of the potential crook. Some one charged with steeling money from the government. If the good U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt knows already that the accused is not guilty, then let his pay check come out of that money when they finally find the thief and the money is replaced by the ‘real’ dishonest tax payer and returned.

beebopwillysays:

This judge should be slapped until he’s a whimpering heap of tear and urine-stained robes, and then run out of town on a rail. What a Nazi pig he is! It’s fascist bastards like this who would like to turn this country into their own little concentration camp playground, where their whim reigns supreme, and nobody has any rights except them. Filth!!!

Aixkamisays:

Convenient Constitution

The First Amendment isn’t absolute…neither is the Second Amendment…, come to think of it, neither is the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If you believe in freedom of speech, freedom of press, right to bear arms (to protect yourself against people who murder, rape, rob, (and I’m not even referring to our government!)) if you believe in the right to life for EVERYONE, INCLUDING those who are disabled, elderly, unborn, you have been soundly defeated in today’s political culture. In today’s society, judges throw out pieces of the founding documents when they’re inconvenient, or when they don’t agree with the judge’s personal views, and the system of checks and balances we’re supposed to have to protect against this very tyranny is so broken and powerless, that it is essentially dead. If you’re a pervert, murder, rapist, thief, politician, then you’re covered, and your rights will be defended….we’ve exchanged bad for good… and we as a populace are getting exactly what we’ve asked for. Thank God for forums like this that still publish these types of stories to at least make sure some of it is known! Oh, and I’m probably now on a domestic terrorism watchlist, LOL.

BTR1701says:

WTF

Not sure what country this judge thinks he’s in, but there’s about 200+ years of 1st Amendment jurisprudence that says he’s full of it.

In the Pentagon Papers case, the Supreme Court ruled that the New York Times could publish sensitive military documents during the Vietnam War, even though it might put troops at risk.

If the lives of American soldiers in war time isn’t enough to trump the 1st Amendment, I have no idea why this judge thinks banning a picture of a politician in handcuffs is going to pass constitutional muster.

Noah Bodysays:

Uh...

Wouldn’t not allowing the photos to be shown be rather biased since then the jurors might assume he is a “good person,” what ever that means, since he would have to be portrayed in a relative positive manor. It seems to me that either no images or at least one of each should be shown to help subdue bias. But then again, what good would either do since we are in a two party gov’t and the mentality of “you’re either with us or against us” rules in both camps…?

Paula Productsays:

Uh, Mike

Geez, Mike — You might have pointed out (for the benefit of the majority of commenters here, who apparently couldn’t be bothered to read the article) that the judge hasn’t actually ordered Newsday not to publish the photos, and has actually rejected the defense’s motion to order Newsday not to publish them, pending a hearing on the issue. In light of the judge’s other rulings mentioned in the article(rejecting the defense demands that the prosecutors stop “perp walks” and refrain from commenting beyond a simple statements of facts) it seems quite likely the court will find that the defendant has not met the high hurdle — which you pointed out — necessary to prevent publication. While it’s somewhat disappointing that the judge didn’t go ahead and reject the argument outright (by finding that nothing the defense might be able to argument would justify such prior restraint), it’s worth noting that there are countervailing interests involved here. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial, and sometimes that interest collides with the rights of a free press. (And thus, the child porn analogy — that’s a situation where the rights of children and the 1st Amendment rights of others collide, and US law finds the interest in protecting children trumps the 1A interest in that situation.) While I, along with many others, and for the most part even US courts, think that the 1st Amendment interests should (and do) take precedence in a situation like this, it’s not quite so ridiculous as you make it out to be for a judge to agree to hold a hearing about the issue and hear from both sides (or rather, several sides). If the judge finds that the defendant’s right to a fair trial may be jeopardized by the photos, there are a variety of other things the judge can do short of trying to order Newsday not to publish them. If the judge does try to gag Newsday (and as I said above, that seems unlikely) then your outrage will be entirely justified.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Uh, Mike

Let’s get real. Since when did “facts” become a necessary prerequisite for arriving at an informed and intellectually honest opinion? Why bother to investigate for yourself when it is so much easier to rant and express righteous indignation over something with which you haven’t a clue what is actually going on?

Re: Re: Uh, Mike

Let’s get real. Since when did “facts” become a necessary prerequisite for arriving at an informed and intellectually honest opinion?

We take getting things factually correct extremely important. I’m not sure why you would use sarcasm here. I’m not sure why you feel so threatened by what we write around here that you feel the need to attack me and my integrity. It’s rather unbecoming.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Uh, Mike

I should have been clearer is identifying the “class” to which my comment was directed. It was not techdirt. It was to many of the commenters who in my view have very little appreciation for how our system of laws actually work.

Just like the 1st Amendment, the 6th Amendment is a bedrock principle upon which our nation is founded. The two principles oftentimes clash and must be reconciled to preserve the respective rights each represents (Free Speech versus Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury).

I am disappointed any time I happen to observe what I believe is a lack of understanding of this very important point.

Re: Uh, Mike

Geez, Mike — You might have pointed out (for the benefit of the majority of commenters here, who apparently couldn’t be bothered to read the article) that the judge hasn’t actually ordered Newsday not to publish the photos, and has actually rejected the defense’s motion to order Newsday not to publish them, pending a hearing on the issue.

True, but as you note later, it seems like the 1st Amendment issue should clearly take precedence here. The very idea of even delaying that decision is troubling.

joshsmithsays:

TechDirt – Judge Apparently Thinks He Can Tell Newspaper Which Photos It Can Use Romenesko points us to the news that a judge is considering barring news organizations from showing photos of a handcuffed local legislator, Roger Corbin. Corbin was arrested on tax charges, and (not surprisingly), local news sources have shown photos of him in handcuffs. This seems both accurate and newsworthy. However, the judge seems to think that these photos could bias the jury, saying that it was ?troubling? to him that the news organizations used the handcuffed photos rather than photos of Corbin back when he was an upstanding legislator. Of course, as the lawyer for the news organizations pointed out: ?Courts do not get [into] telling the media what to publish.? The judge then apparently compared the handcuff photos to child porn in explaining that the First Amendment wasn?t absolute, and the gov?t could restrain the use of certain photos (apparently skipping over the incredibly high barrier normally used to justify anything of that nature). The judge hasn?t made a final decision yet, but even the fact that he?s considering telling newspapers that they can?t publish photos of a guy in handcuffs seems troubling.

real estate

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it