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Indybay Feature
Related Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Media Activism & Independent Media | Police State & Prisons
Indybay Journalist Moves to Quash UCPD Search Warrant
by dave id
Tuesday Apr 20th, 2010 2:31 PM
For Immediate Release April 19, 2010

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

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– Photographer Was Newsgathering During UC Berkeley Chancellor House Protest

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

– Search Warrant Affidavit Filed By Police Under Oath Omits Any Mention of Journalist Status

Oakland – David Morse, a 42-year-old veteran journalist who has covered hundreds of demonstrations
and other events since 2002, moved Friday to quash a search warrant issued for his journalistic work
product. Morse 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before a search warrant had issued for Morse’s unpublished photographs.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, including
unpublished photographs made in a public place.

The court papers allege that Morse was at the scene solely in a newsgathering capacity, identified himself
as a journalist six times to police prior to issuance of the warrant, possessed a press pass that he showed
to the ranking officer on scene, and protested the legality of the search. The search warrant affidavit the
UCPD filed with the court entirely omits any mention of these facts.

The details of the incident are included in the attached court papers. A hearing on the motion is scheduled
for 9:00 a.m. on May 11, 2010 in Department 115 of the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.


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(19-page PDF)



A. Morse's Coverage of Student Protests, Past and Present
B. Events at the UC Berkeley Chancellor's House
C. The Issuance of the Search Warrant
D. The Search Warrant, Supporting Affidavit and Statement of Probable Cause
E. David Morse Is An Experienced Journalist and Member of the Indybay Collective
1. Morse Is An Experienced Journalist
2. Indybay Is a Decade-Old Online News Outlet
3. Morse Is a Member of the Indybay Collective
4. Other Publications Source Morse's Reportage From Indybay

A. The Court Has the Authority to Quash the Warrant and Return the Items Seized Pursuant to its Authority
B. California Law Absolutely Prohibits the Issuance of a Search Warrant for Items Covered by the Shield Law
C. The Contents of Morse's Camera and Memory Discs Are Items Described in Section 1070 of the Evidence Code
1. Morse is Connected With Indybay and Was Newsgathering on the Night of December 11, 2009
2. Indybay Is a News Outlet of the Type Described in Section 1070
a. Indybay Is a Periodical Publication
b. Indybay Is Also a Wire Service
c. Indybay Is Also a Press Association


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(9-page PDF)

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(4-page PDF)
§Declaration of Peter M, Indybay Co-Founder
by dave id Tuesday Apr 20th, 2010 2:31 PM

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(4-page PDF)
§Declaration of Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View
by dave id Tuesday Apr 20th, 2010 2:31 PM

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(3-page PDF)

§Declaration of David Morse
by dave id Tuesday Apr 20th, 2010 2:31 PM

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(12-page PDF)

Comments  (Hide Comments)

It's hard to know where to start. I'm not used to writing stories about myself. Usually, I am the one sharing news about other people through recordings and words. I cover events and publish reports to Indybay. I often report on street demonstrations, some more rowdy than others. And while I recognize the privilege my skin-tone grants me in our society and that I have not taken the types of risks war reporters do, I know enough from having seen what's happened to other journalists over the years that I am not immune from abuses by law enforcement authorities.

I was detained by UC Berkeley police while I was reporting on a campus demonstration on the night of December 11th, 2009. UCPD wanted my camera, so they took it, handcuffed me, and ten hours later I was in general population at Santa Rita. While I sat in jail, UC Berkeley's PR machine hit overdrive exaggerating the events of the night before, all the while neglecting to mention that they had wrongfully arrested a journalist. UCPD ended up charging me with five felonies and two misdemeanors. My final bail was set at $132,500. Then at my arraignment on December 15th, due to a complete lack of evidence, the Alameda County District Attorney's office filed absolutely no charges against me (or any of the other seven people who were arrested separately that night). Yet I was still out the $13,000 it took to secure my release from jail, my name had been on television and in newspapers everywhere as an arrestee accused of serious crimes, and UC had successfully managed to not only silence my eye-witness reporting that would have contradicted many of their press statements as the news broke but to seize my photographs from the scene for their own purposes.

I don't write this to make the story about anything it's not. I wasn't killed or physically beaten by police. But I am compelled to not only stand up for my own right to continue reporting without undue police interference and for the many other journalists who have been or might be mistreated in police attacks on the free press. Unfortunately, it's all too common in the U.S. and across the globe. I will also describe my experience in the Alameda County jail for the benefit of those lucky enough to have never walked in jail shoes — food for thought when considering the over two million people currently behind bars in the United States.

read more:
by repost
Monday Apr 26th, 2010 11:54 PM
iPhone Leak Investigation Pauses As DA Ponders Gizmodo Shield Law Defense

"California’s shield laws protect journalists from having to turn over their sources and unpublished information they’ve collected as part of their reporting."
by dave id
Wednesday May 12th, 2010 12:54 AM
The DA was unprepared on May 11th so it was rescheduled for the same court room on June 4th.
by dave id
Tuesday Jun 15th, 2010 11:57 AM
The DA's office has expressed no interest in challenging the motion, so they will not be involved.

UC representatives were not present for the May 11th hearing, but did attend the June 4th hearing, although they asserted they were not prepared, so it was rescheduled for the same court room on June 18th.