Permission, and then Prior Restraint in an LA Courtroom

Los Angeles Times photographer Al Seib requested permission, in writing, from Judge Hilleri G. Merritt to photograph the arraignment of Alberd Tersargyan and was given the okay. During the arraignment, the judge (based on requests from lawyers involved) rescinded permission – and then told Seib he was not allowed to publish the images he had already made, according to an LA Times story.

This will be interesting to watch – will the Times run the photos? Will Judge Merritt hold Seib (or the Times) in contempt if they are published? Will the judge rescind the order? It would be a clear case of prior restraint if enforced, something the U.S. Supreme Court has never allowed to stand.

Mark E. Johnson

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