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Sat Apr 24 2010 (Updated 06/25/10)
Indybay Reporter Succeeds in Quashing UCPD Search Warrant
Sat Apr 24 2010 (Updated 06/25/10)
Journalist's Work Seized While Reporting on Campus Protest Now Must Be Returned by UC
On Friday, April 16th, veteran Indybay reporter David Morse (known to readers as "dave id") moved to quash a search warrant issued for photographs he took at a December 11th protest on the UC Berkeley campus. The photographs were taken while Morse was covering a protest in front of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's residence for Indybay. Despite clearly identifying himself as a journalist, Morse was arrested along with seven others, had his camera and photographs seized, and was charged with multiple felonies.

After the arrests, UC Berkeley's public relations machine went into overdrive, disseminating sensationalized misinformation about the protest and the eight people arrested that night. Morse spent a weekend at the Santa Rita "mega-jail" and was forced to post a $13,000 bond to secure his release. Within days, charges against the "UC8" were dropped, but Morse had yet to recover the pictures confiscated by police.

Morse writes, "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 am compelled to 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."

The motion to quash the search warrant was filed in Alameda County Superior Court by the nonprofit advocacy group First Amendment Project. It asserted that the search warrant violated the California journalist's shield law. On June 18th at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, Judge Yolanda Northridge agreed and quashed the warrant, ordering the UC Regents to return the original photographs and all known copies.

PDFRead More | PDFUpdate on Delays of Hearing for Motion to Quash | PDFUC Regents' Opposition to Motion to Quash Warrant, and Movant Reply | photoUC Search Warrant Quashed!! | PDFJudge's Order to Quash Warrant, for UC to Return All Photos & Submit Declaration | PDFPress Release: Court Quashes Search Warrant | dave id's Account | First Amendment Project

Related Coverage: Eight Arrested at UC Berkeley After Concert & March