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Thread: Law on photography update

  1. #311

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    OK, understood. I was thinking more along the lines of whether a cop had a "real" reason to cite/arrest for loitering, disturbing peace, or other things where there may be differing opinions and some sort of higher point at stake. I was thinking in situatio where one could question "how long does it have to be before one is "really" loitering?" or "Whose peace was "really" disturbed or were they just momentarily bothered?". But I suppose your reply will say that "safe" was just an example and also included as other examples are "disruptive", "interfering", and "annoying". I understand why you say a judge wouldn't bother getting in the middle of that kind of conversation.
    I don't know about the U.S., but elsewhere judges most certainly do "get into the middle" of that kind of conversation. It's their job. On a charge of disturbing the peace, the fundamental issue is whether, as a matter of fact, the accused was or was not disturbing the peace. It isn't a matter of a police officer standing up and saying "I think that he was disturbing the peace," and that's the end of it. At least, that's not how it works in any courtroom that I've ever tried a case in.

    In part, Cyrus's argument seems to be that this has to be recognized as a constitutional right because the U.S. court process is otherwise a joke, which is pretty pathetic if true.
    Cheers!

  2. #312
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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    "judge doesn't second-guess the cops."

    Want to bet?

    She certainly did second-guess the cops.
    I would agree with Bob that some judges will stand for what is right.

    As a personal example some years back I was traveling north on El Camino Real in Palo Alto which lies in Santa Clara County crossing into adjoining Menlo Park which lies in San Mateo County. About a half or so mile after crossing into Menlo Park I was pulled over by a patrol car and the officer told me that he was going to issue me a citation for having a low-hanging muffler and went back to his car to write it up. True, the muffler was hanging low and I knew I had to have it repaired but it wasn't making any noise or bellowing smoke or anything and I thought it was pretty chickenshit to issue me a citation without the opportunity of having it repaired. Anyway when he returns and hands me the ticket book and pen to sign I notice that his badge indicates that he is a Palo Alto police officer and I hand his ticket book and pen back to him without signing on the grounds that he was in Menlo Park which is in San Mateo county and that he didn't have jurisdiction to issue what is a revenue generating citation in another county.

    Although he was a sergeant, he calls his "supervisor" who comes out and tells me that they (the police) have the authority to go "anywhere." I disagree and state that I will appear in court on the designated date and time but I will not sign the citation. So off to Palo Alto jail I go where I am released at midnight just in time to catch the last bus back to my car in Menlo Park.

    Next thing I get a notice to appear in Palo Alto Superior court from the Santa Clara District Attorneys office. This was before the municipal and superior courts were combined and minor offenses like traffic tickets were heard in municipal court and real criminal matters were heard in superior court. I appear in superior court and find that my case is not on the docket posted outside the courtroom and approached the clerk who couldn't find my case either. He looks at the notice I received and says that they don't hear low hanging muffler issues that there must be some mistake. Several days later I receive a notice to appear in municipal (traffic) court and again appeared.

    I was sitting in the rear of the courtroom when my case was called and while walking toward the podium noticed two suited individuals jump up whom I took to be from the SC DA's office and were speaking to the judge over his shoulder. I couldn't hear what they were saying but from the expression on the judges face whatever they were saying he wasn't buying. At almost the instant that I reached the podium he hollers out "DISMISSED!" He then asked me why I didn't sign the ticket and I replied that it was my position that the officer didn't have jurisdiction in San Mateo County to issue revenue raising citations and that I didn't want to confer jurisdiction where none existed by signing the ticket. "Well, you're WRONG in that," he said and added "Next time you just sign his ticket and let me take of it."

    Thomas

  3. #313
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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    I have a hard time wading through all this because it is to long!

    But when you say : So, the trespass was irrelevant (perhaps) to that assertion which has potential ramifications. It was not irrelevant to the case.

    That's all I need to see.
    If you are going to post page-long homilies, and then continue to debate every major and minor phrase anyone uses, you are rather obligated to read all of those posts to which you are responding. My post was far shorter than many of yours in this thread.

    Had you kept reading one sentence beyond the point where you said you had seen all you needed to, you'd have read this:

    "But [the trespass] is irrelevant to something else the court asserted, and that assertion is the issue. If I'm reading all this correctly, the notion that speech must be communicative was already established in case law. The new thing here was that being a hobbyist photographer was evidence of not being communicative."

    Forgive me for this rant, but this is not the first time I've tried to help you reel discussions not important to the real issue you have raised back from its various distractions. The trespass issue was the first distraction. The "photography is not illegal" issue was the second distraction. The "we have inalienable rights" issue was the third distraction. Each time, you insist on your way of saying things, even when they do not disagree in any important way with what others are saying, or with your underlying important point. That tells me you only understand your own words. How in the world do you succeed as a lawyer with witnesses and juries who will not fight so hard to see past pedantic rhetoric? Your argumentation based on repetition isn't working. Try something else.

    Rick "done" Denney

  4. #314

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    Judges most certainly do "get into the middle" of that kind of conversation. It's their job. On a charge of disturbing the peace, the fundamental issue is whether, as a matter of fact, the accused was or was not disturbing the peace. It isn't a matter of the police office standing up and saying "I think that he was disturbing the peace," and that's the end of it. At least, that's not how it works in any courtroom that I've ever tried a case in.
    Maybe I'm getting into something where my ignorance is starting to show. Please bear with me.

    What you say is what I thought in my intitial reaction to what cyrus said. With one minor difference. I was thinking about civil and criminal cases that I was juror opn in our Superior Court, which cyrus was not. The judge in all of those cases didn't overtly believe or disbelieve the cop's testimony. He proceeded over the discussions (attending to protocol mostly) where laywers on both sides presented evidence trying to use the cop's testimony to support their arguement. The judge presented the jurors with the law (criteria) and it was up to us to evaluate the testimony relative to the law.

    In a similar situation that doesn't enjoy the benefit of a jury, I would hope that you are very correct!

    In traffic court where we can appear before a judge to "fight a ticket" my experience is that more often than not the judge sides with the cops judgement, based on them being "trained observers" is what I've been told.

  5. #315

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by rdenney View Post
    How in the world do you succeed as a lawyer with witnesses and juries who will not fight so hard to see past pedantic rhetoric? Your argumentation based on repetition isn't working. Try something else.

    Rick "done" Denney
    I think that it is highly unlikely that he does trial/appellate work.
    Cheers!

  6. #316

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    Judges most certainly do "get into the middle" of that kind of conversation. It's their job. On a charge of disturbing the peace, the fundamental issue is whether, as a matter of fact, the accused was or was not disturbing the peace. It isn't a matter of a police officer standing up and saying "I think that he was disturbing the peace," and that's the end of it. At least, that's not how it works in any courtroom that I've ever tried a case in.
    If the cop says that your photography was creating a danger, it doesn't AUTOMATICALLY mean that he'll be taken at his word. Of course not. But in practice, its your word against his - and he's a "trained professional law enforcement officer" ... and like I said the courts will tend to defer to the police in deciding what is or is not a dangerous situation

  7. #317

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    I think that it is highly unlikely that he does trial/appellate work.
    I asked (politely even) but there was no response.

  8. #318

    Re: Law on photography update

    I maybe should have explained a bit more.
    My daughter is an Attorney as is my son-in-law.
    My brother is the Chairman of Goverment Strategies for a large law firm in DC.
    I have several (lots actually) of cousins, neices, nephews, uncles, aunts, and an ex-sister-in-law that are attorneys. I am the black sheep that isn't one. I also play poker with a few every week to make spending money. And, oh yes, my wife's cousin was Robert Bork's first wife.

    None of these relatives or friends have ever warned me that I was in danger of breaking any laws while taking pictures and, in fact, several of the above also take pictures.

    Some of these attorney's are litigators, one is a defense specialist in Brooklyn, some are corporate and some are divorce, and bankruptcy.

    How come that all of these specialists in the law have never mentioned anything about communicative or non-communicative law s to me or ever warned me about the dangers of taking pictures in public?

    ANd one of the attorneys that I play cards with every other week for over 30 years is a senior attorney for the MTA doing their litigating nd he would seem to be involved somewhat similarly to the PATH, which was mentined earlier, and he has also never remotely hinted at a problem.

  9. #319

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Maybe I'm getting into something where my ignorance is starting to show. Please bear with me.

    What you say is what I thought in my intitial reaction to what cyrus said. With one minor difference. I was thinking about civil and criminal cases that I was juror opn in our Superior Court, which cyrus was not. The judge in all of those cases didn't overtly believe or disbelieve the cop's testimony. He proceeded over the discussions (attending to protocol mostly) where laywers on both sides presented evidence trying to use the cop's testimony to support their arguement. The judge presented the jurors with the law (criteria) and it was up to us to evaluate the testimony relative to the law.

    In a similar situation that doesn't enjoy the benefit of a jury, I would hope that you are very correct!

    In traffic court where we can appear before a judge to "fight a ticket" my experience is that more often than not the judge sides with the cops judgement, based on them being "trained observers" is what I've been told.
    Brian, what you describe is how courts work for these kinds of issues where I live, and how I strongly suspect they work in the U.S. Traffic court is a whole other matter
    Cheers!

  10. #320

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by rdenney View Post

    Had you kept reading one sentence beyond the point where you said you had seen all you needed to, you'd have read this:
    Well if he read the whole thing then he would not be able to use just the parts he likes to enforce his view and opinions. He practices law (supposedly) so of course he is not going to want the full view of the discussions to be on view.

    None to the questions posed to Cyrus have been answered in any way that would be considered factual. This has gone from a update on HIS lawsuit against the PATH system (which he still has not answered if he is suing for financial gain) for his creative rights that they are stepping on. SO from there it has moved into a slew of other topics about the legalities of photography.

    The easiest way to say if it is against the law or not is to do it and see what the out come is. If you get arrested and go to trial and the judge and DA's can show clearly you were wrong then you will get fined and get the punishment for breaking the law. As you should for breaking a law that is indeed a real law and not some made up one that you claim some lower level judge in some small town says is the law and that all the cops that are crooked are upholding so they can just stick it to the little guy once more.

    If they find you are indeed correct, then you will set precedence and will help change the laws to represent what you are saying is right.

    Suing under false grounds is simply a waste of time and energy and taxpayers money. Let alone takes away from the time which the over burdened court systems are in desperate need for.

    So once again I will ask, because I love smashing my face into a wall trying to pull blood fro a stone.

    1. Cite a case where a photographer was arrested for, and charged with "Taking a photograph in a public place that was non-communicative."

    2. Does your lawsuit have you suing for a financial sum? Because this really changes it from a fight for freedoms and to stop the loss of such freedoms, to a fight of financial freedoms for yourself and has nothing to do with the overall photography community.

    The charges were dropped by the owners of the property by the company that owned it. They did not see the point in making it hard or the photog, which is nice of them. The judge in the lawsuit case clearly saw that and made it part of his ruling. So stop trying to say it had nothing to do with it.

    If you want to say this is about the photography being illegal, then just give us one case showing that it was what the person was arrested for.

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