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Court Quashes Search Warrant, Orders UCPD To Return Indybay Journalist’s News Photographs
by dave id
Monday Jun 21st, 2010 6:15 PM
For Immediate Release June 21, 2010

Contact: David Greene, Geoffrey King, First Amendment Project 510.208.7744

COURT QUASHES SEARCH WARRANT, ORDERS UCPD TO RETURN
VETERAN JOURNALIST’S NEWS PHOTOGRAPHS

– Photographer Was Newsgathering During UC Berkeley Chancellor House Protest

– Search Warrants Against Journalistic Work Product Expressly Barred By California Law

– UC Sought to Use Images to Investigate and Discipline Students


Oakland – On Friday, June 18, an Alameda County Superior Court judge quashed an illegal search warrant
issued for the unpublished news photographs of veteran journalist David Morse. The court also ordered
the return of all of Morse’s photographs, including any copies made by the University. The court also
ordered the University to declare under oath what agencies received copies of the photographs, if any.

Morse is a 42-year-old journalist who has covered hundreds of demonstrations and other events since 2002.
He was arrested and his camera searched in connection with a protest he was covering at UC Berkeley on
December 11, 2009. The charges were dropped at Morse’s first court appearance, but not before a search
warrant had issued for his unpublished photographs. It is a violation of the Penal Code to secure a search
warrant for any items covered by the California journalist’s shield law.

Although the UCPD police report more than once referenced Morse’s repeated assertions that he was a
journalist, officers omitted this crucial fact in the sworn affidavit they filed with the court in support of the
search warrant. Thus the judge who issued the search warrant had no indication that Morse was reporting
for a news organization at the protest.

The Alameda County District Attorney did not oppose Morse’s motion and indicated that no criminal
investigation is pending. The University opposed the motion, arguing that it had an interest in using the
photographs to investigate students for disciplinary purposes. The University also argued that it could
continue using copies of Morse’s photographs even if the warrant was deemed illegal.

The court rejected these and the University’s other contentions.

Morse was represented by First Amendment Project on a pro bono basis.


http://www.thefirstamendment.org

###


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by SJ Mercury News repost
Monday Jun 21st, 2010 9:19 PM
Judge says UC wrongly searched journalist's camera
By Matt Krupnick
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 06/21/2010 01:16:38 PM PDT
Updated: 06/21/2010 05:36:06 PM PDT

An Alameda County judge has ruled UC Berkeley police improperly searched a journalist's camera after a December protest at Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's campus home.

Friday's ruling by Superior Court Judge Yolanda Northridge required UC police to return all copies of photographs taken from David Morse's camera, said Morse's attorney, Geoffrey King.

Morse said he was taking photographs of the Dec. 11 protest for the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, known as Indybay, and identified himself as a journalist at least six times. State law protects reporters and photographers from, among other things, having their work seized by authorities.

The protest resulted in broken windows and other damage at Birgeneau's home. Morse and seven others were arrested and charged with several crimes, although charges were later dropped.

"This is everything we were hoping for," King said.

University police said Monday they could not comment because they had not yet seen Northridge's ruling. The department has not considered changing the way it deals with journalists, said Capt. Margo Bennett.

"We wrote a search warrant (seeking the photographs) in good faith," she said. "A judge signed it."

Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 925-943-8246. Follow him at Twitter.com/mattkrupnick.
by AP repost
Monday Jun 21st, 2010 9:23 PM
Judge: UC illegally searched journalist's camera

By TERENCE CHEA
The Associated Press
Monday, June 21, 2010; 9:01 PM

BERKELEY, Calif. -- A judge has ruled that the University of California police illegally searched the camera of a photojournalist covering a protest outside the chancellor's campus home, attorneys said Monday.

Alameda County Superior Judge Yolanda Northridge on Friday invalidated the search warrant used by UC Berkeley police to review photographs taken by David Morse at the Dec. 11 demonstration, according to the Oakland-based First Amendment Project, which represented him.

The judge also ordered the university to return all copies of Morse's photos, which campus police were using as part of their investigation into violence and vandalism the night of the protest.

The First Amendment Project called the ruling a "huge and hard-fought victory for freedom of the press," noting that the judge upheld a California law restricting police searches of journalists' unpublished work.

The UC Police Department has not had a chance to review the ruling, said Capt. Margo Bennett. But she said campus police wrote the affidavit for the search warrant in good faith and a judge signed it.
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Morse was covering the demonstration outside Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's campus residence for the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, also known as Indybay.

Morse repeatedly identified himself as a journalist before he was arrested by campus police, which obtained a search warrant to look at his photos before he was released on bail, according to the First Amendment Project.

Morse's attorneys said UC police did not tell the judge that he had identified himself as a journalist when they requested the warrant.

That night campus police arrested eight people after dozens of protesters broke windows, lights and planters outside of Birgeneau's home. The protesters were demonstrating against state funding cuts that have led to course cutbacks, faculty furloughs and sharp fee increases.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/21/AR2010062104479.html

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/06/21/national/a163442D79.DTL
by SF Bay Guardian repost
Monday Jun 21st, 2010 9:28 PM
Judge orders UC police to hand over journalist’s photographs
06.21.10 - 6:09 pm | Rebecca Bowe |

David Morse has covered hundreds of Bay Area protests for Indybay.


Remember when a crowd of angry student protesters surrounded the home of UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau last December, and broke some windows? And then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called them terrorists?

That eventful night touched off a months-long court battle for David Morse, a journalist who was arrested at the chancellor's residence along with seven protesters but later had his charges dropped entirely. After a June 18 court ruling in his favor, Morse will finally have his photographs from the protest returned to him.

The win signifies a major victory for the First Amendment Project, which represented him pro bono, and strengthens the principle that journalists' unpublished photographs and information should not be seized by police and used for law-enforcement purposes.

Morse was at the fiery Dec. 11 march not to protest, but to report on it for Indybay, the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center. He wore a press badge, and repeatedly identified himself as a reporter to University of California police officers when they detained him. Nonetheless, campus police seized his camera and arrested him, initially charging him with several felonies. “They said to me, ‘you were taking pictures of us. We want your camera,’” Morse recalled.

As the scene at the chancellor’s residence made headlines the following morning, Morse was sitting in jail in Santa Rita. "My voice as an eyewitness was completely silenced," he told the Guardian when we interviewed him for an earlier story.

His charges were dropped, and his camera was returned within a few weeks. However, he’s been in court for about six months trying to get his digital photos back.

State law prohibits the issuance of search warrants for unpublished journalistic materials. The idea behind this is to protect journalists from serving law enforcement's agenda against their will, which could limit the flow of information by causing sources to clam up. Yet the UC police department obtained a search warrant for Morse’s unpublished photos, which were stored on a memory disc seized along with his camera.

The First Amendment Project stepped in on his behalf. FAP attorney Geoff King said the affidavit that triggered the issuance of the warrant failed to mention that Morse had identified as a journalist. It was a strange omission, King said, since the police report included several references to Morse’s assertion that he was there as a reporter. Since the affidavit didn't describe Morse as a journalist, the judge had no way of knowing that the warrant was illegal.

On June 18, Morse and FAP claimed victory as an Alameda Superior Court judge quashed the warrant. The court also ordered UCPD to return all of Morse's photographs, including any copies, and to declare under oath what other agencies had received copies.

While the decision is a major win for press freedom, UC police used the illegally obtained photographs for their own purposes in the interim. Morse’s photos of activists were uploaded onto a "Wanted" website maintained by UCPD, but have since been removed, King said. The university has also indicated that it wanted to use the photos in a series of disciplinary hearings targeting students who engaged in on-campus activism protesting tuition hikes.

In a San Jose Mercury News article, UCPD Capt. Margo Bennett was quoted as saying the department has not considered changing the way it deals with journalists.
by Redação Portal IMPRENSA repost
Tuesday Jun 22nd, 2010 12:31 PM
Portal Imprensa » Últimas Notícias
Publicado em: 22/06/2010 15:33
Justiça dos EUA determina que universidade devolva fotografias apreendidas de jornalista

Redação Portal IMPRENSA

A justiça norte-americana afirmou que a segurança da Universidade da Califórnia (UC) retirou ilegalmente uma câmera do fotógrafo independente, David Morse, que cobria uma manifestação fora do campus, em dezembro de 2009. A juíza Yolanda Northridge ainda determinou que a universidade devolva todas as fotos a Morse.

Segundo a AP, a segurança da UC estava usando o material como parte de uma investigação sobre violência e vandalismo na noite do protesto.

Os manifestantes eram, na maioria, alunos da Universidade da Califórnia, que protestavam contra os cortes de financiamento estatal, que levaram a diminuição de cursos e do corpo docente.

Durante a cobertura da manifestação, Morse teria se identificado diversas vezes como jornalista, mas mesmo assim, foi preso, teve seu material apreendido e só conseguiu ser libertado sob fiança.



Portal Press »Latest News
Published: 22/06/2010 15:33
U.S. court determines that the university return seized photographs of journalist

Drafting Portal PRESS

The court had previously said that security at the University of California (UC) unlawfully removed a camera from an independent photographer, David Morse, who was covering a demonstration outside the campus in December 2009. Judge Yolanda Northridge has determined that the university return all photos to Morse.

According to AP, the security of UC was using the material as part of an investigation into violence and vandalism the night of the protest.

The demonstrators were mostly students from the University of California, protesting against cuts in state funding that led to the decrease of courses and faculty.

During the coverage of the event, Morse had been identified several times as a journalist, but even so, he was arrested, had their material confiscated and could only be released on bail.
by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Tuesday Jun 22nd, 2010 5:36 PM
California · June 22, 2010 · Reporter's privilege

Calif. judge says subpoena for journalist's photos was illegal

Keywords: Photographers; subpoena

A judge has ruled that University of California police illegally obtained photographs from a journalist covering a campus protest.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Yolanda Northridge on Friday ordered police to return all copies of the photos taken during the December protest at the Berkeley campus, according to the Oakland, Calif.-based First Amendment Project. The judge also ordered university officials to declare under oath what agencies, if any, received copies of the photos.

“Everything we asked for, we got,” said David Greene, the First Amendment Project’s executive director.

Photojournalist David Morse was covering the demonstration for the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, known as Indybay, when he was arrested by campus police who obtained a search warrant to view his photos.

In requesting the warrant, police never informed a judge that Morse was a journalist, Greene said. A California shield law protects journalists from subpoenas that seek unpublished information gathered while covering the news.

Though Morse repeatedly identified himself as a journalist before he was arrested, the university argued that police had reason to believe Morse was not a journalist because he was carrying an expired press pass.

Morse frequently carries his old press pass as a backup and left his current pass behind as he rushed to get to the scene, Greene said. Regardless, the attorney noted, police ignored Morse when he tried to explain that he was a journalist.

University police Capt. Margo Bennett said Tuesday that she had not yet reviewed the court’s ruling and was unable to discuss its impact.

Police arrested eight people Dec. 11, when dozens of protesters marched on the home of university Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to protest budget cuts and a fee increase. Protesters – some carrying torches – broke lights and windows and overturned planters at the chancellor’s home.

The university obtained Morse’s photos to aid its investigation. In a court motion supporting its actions, the university argued that the public’s interest in prosecuting the protesters outweighed a First Amendment right to preserve the confidentiality of unpublished information.

Meanwhile, in another case that could involve California’s shield law, the owners of the Gizmodo technology blog have asked authorities to return computers and other equipment taken from a blogger who posted pictures of a missing iPhone prototype. Gawker Media argues the state’s shield law should also protect the blogger’s property.

— Brian Westley, 5:33 pm
by Daily Cal repost
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2010 11:56 AM
Judge's Ruling: UCPD Illegally Searched Journalist's Photos

By Katie Nelson
Contributing Writer
Date Added Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | 5:49 pm
Last Updated Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | 6:40 pm
Category: News > University > Academics and Administration


An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that campus police illegally searched a journalist's camera used to document the Dec. 11 attack on Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's campus home.

Judge Yolanda Northridge's ruling invalidated a search warrant that had been used by UCPD to review photographs taken by David Morse on Dec. 11 and ordered the return of all copies of Morse's photographs, which police used as part of their investigation into the attack.

Morse, who has covered hundreds of demonstrations in and around the Bay Area since 2002, was reporting for Indybay on the night when about 70 protesters - some wielding torches - vandalized Birgeneau's home.

According to the First Amendment Project, an East Bay firm that represented Morse in the case, he repeatedly identified himself as a journalist before he was arrested, and police obtained a search warrant to review his photos before he was released on bail.

Geoffrey King, Morse's lawyer, said police did not tell the judge that he had identified himself as a journalist when they requested the warrant.

UCPD Capt. Margo Bennett said she could not comment on the ruling because campus police had yet to review the judge's decision. However, she added that UCPD wrote the original affidavit for the search warrant in good faith and that they had received a judge's approval.

"If a judge now has an order out that says something different from what was originally stated, we will do what the court has ordered," Bennett said.

King also said he would expect UCPD to act quickly on the ruling because according to California's shield law, every day that they retain possession of Morse's photographs, his journalistic integrity is "harmed."

"I would not expect the police to dilly-dally on this kind of thing," he said. "The judge ordered the property to be returned to Morse as soon as possible. The fact of the matter is that they can't get these unpublished photographs and cannot subpoena him to use them again in the investigation."

Initially, Morse said he was able to retrieve his camera and backpack from campus police in late December, but when he asked for the return of his photographs, he was instead given blank discs while the police kept the original copies to use as part of their ongoing investigation.

Morse said he hopes his case encourages other reporters to feel "a little bolder" when defending their rights. He added that while he found the case an educational process, it has taken a toll on how other news sources view his work.

"Standing up for myself and going to jail knocked the wind out of me," he said. "The ruling is a big step in the right direction, but I still find myself looking over my shoulder."
by Democracy Now! repost
Thursday Jun 24th, 2010 11:44 AM
Copy the following to embed the movie into another web page:
download video:

demnow-democracynowthursdayjune242010-uc.mp4 (2.1MB)

Judge Rules UC Police Illegally Searched Journalist’s Camera

A California judge has ruled the University of California police illegally searched the camera of a photojournalist arrested at a December protest against education budget cuts and tuition hikes. The journalist, David Morse, had his camera confiscated and was jailed overnight after demonstrators rallied outside the home of UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. In issuing the ruling, the judge upheld a California law restricting police searches of journalists’ unpublished material.

(video coverage starts about 12:30 into headlines of full show)
by a photo editor repost
Thursday Jun 24th, 2010 2:12 PM

Another Victory For Independent Journalists

David Morse, a member of the Indybay Collective (a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage) was arrested on December 11, 2009 during protests at the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s house.

He wore a press badge, and repeatedly identified himself as a reporter to University of California police officers when they detained him. Nonetheless, campus police seized his camera and arrested him, initially charging him with several felonies. (source)

According to the First Amendment Project who represented David in court pro bono:

Prior to his release on bail the next day, the UCPD obtained a search warrant to look at the photographs Morse had taken. In obtaining the search warrant, the UCPD did not inform the judge of Morse’s claims that he was a journalist. The charges against Morse, which included rioting and vandalism, were dropped soon thereafter.

California Penal Code section 1524(g) provides that “no search warrant shall issue” for unpublished information gathered by a journalist during the course of newsgathering. The law was enacted in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision which held that the First Amendment did not bar search warrants from being issued against newsrooms. Thus any protections journalists had in such circumstances must come from the legislature.

Judge Northridge issued her order over UC’s argument that section 1524(g) should not apply when the journalist was suspected of having committed or observed a crime. Judge Northridge also rejected UC’s argument that even if the search warrant was improper, UC should be permitted to keep copies of Morse’s photographs for use in its internal disciplinary investigations.