Officials in Alaska’s largest city are cutting off public access to scanner traffic, a crackling source of breaking news for generations of reporters and citizens. After a legal review, the officials decided that potential negative consequences outweigh the benefits.
Police-media relations may have bottomed out following a series a controversial police-involved deaths beginning last August, when Michael Brown was killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. Journalists covering the resulting unrest were harassed, bullied and arrested by police.
Amid an unprecedented media throng, Bill Cosby is due in a Pennsylvania courtroom today for a hearing that could determine the fate of the decade-in-the-making sexual assault case against him, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Through his lawyers, the 78-year-old comedian has asked Judge Steven O’Neill to throw out the charges, arguing he received a legally binding promise 10 years ago that he would never be prosecuted for an alleged 2004 assault on former Temple University basketball manager Andrea Constand. Prosecutors say no such deal existed. Court officials have issued 91 credentials to dozens of news outlets, established an overflow courtroom for reporters to watch the proceedings on video and distributed parking passes for nearly two dozen satellite trucks and broadcast crews. For weeks, Cosby lawyers Brian.
The prosecutor in Columbia, Mo., has deferred the prosecution of a University of Missouri professor charged with assault for an altercation with journalists during protests on campus in November, reports the Columbia. Mo., Daily Tribune. Melissa Click, 45, an assistant professor of communication, agreed to a deal in which city Prosecutor Steve Richey will forgo prosecution for misdemeanor assault as long as she completes 20 hours of community service and does not break the law for one year. “This disposition is in keeping with my office's handling of dozens of similar municipal cases and adequately serves the interest of justice by ensuring the defendant will not engage in similar conduct,” Richey said. Click drew attention and widespread scorn after a video of her asking for “some muscle” to clear two student journalists, photographer Tim Tai and videographer Mark Schierbecker, on Nov.
Beth Schwartzapfel of The Marshall Project, and an investigative reporting team from the Belleville News-Democrat—Beth Hundsdorfer, George Pawlaczyk and Zia Nizami—are the winners of the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim 2016 Awards for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting. “The impressive work of these journalists illustrates why reform of our criminal justice system has risen to the top of our national agenda,” said Jeremy Travis, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in the prize announcement on Jan. 25. “We are proud to honor them as examples of the critical role the media is playing—and continues to play—in our ongoing national debate.” The annual prizes are administered by John Jay's Center on Media, Crime and Justice (CMCJ)—publisher of The Crime Report.
A CNN-Baltimore Sun special report “Who Killed Freddie Gray?” doesn't deliver on the promise of the title, but that’s one of the few criticisms of the broadcast to be aired tonight starting at 9 Eastern time from Sun TV critic David Zurawik. He notes that there are still six trials ahead aimed at determining culpability or innocence of the officers involved in the arrest and transport of Gray on April 12, 2015. The 25-year-old Baltimore resident died one week later from injuries suffered while in police custody. Zurawik says that, “no matter how much you think you know about Freddie Gray and the events following his death, you will learn something from this skillfully crafted production.
The filmmakers behind Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary expected a backlash that would lead people in the media to demonize Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man whose prosecution in the 2005 death of a woman formed the centerpiece of the 10-part series, the Associated Press reports. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, at a news conference yesterday, sought to deflect discussion on the question of Avery’s guilt or innocence and instead pointed to questions raised about the criminal justice system in their film. “Making a Murderer” has led many people who have seen it to take up the cause of Avery, who served 18 years in prison after a wrongful conviction of rape, and two years after his release was charged in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach. The documentary questions whether Avery was treated fairly. Prosecutors, who the filmmakers say declined their request to participate in “Making a Murderer,” say the film omits physical evidence against Avery.
It was a “huge mistake” for Rolling Stone to let Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” Guzman approve the story by Sean Penn on his interview with Guzman, ethics expert Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute tells CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” Says McBride: “A controversial figure like El Chapo, you can let him know what his quotes are. You can let him do an accuracy check on the story and you can address his concerns that way, but you don’t need to let him read the story ahead of time.” Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner told the program that giving El Chapo the storh approval right was a small price to pay for getting the exclusive. Larry Hackett, former editor of “People” magazine, told CNN, “Rolling Stone said he asked for approval and we gave it to him.
The recapture of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman took a Hollywood twist when a Mexican official said security forces at one point located the world’s most-wanted trafficker thanks to a secret interview with actor Sean Penn, the Associated Press reports. Penn’s interview with Guzman, who has twice escaped from Mexican maximum security prisons, appeared on the website of Rolling Stone magazine. It was held at an undisclosed hideout in northern Mexico in October, about two months before Guzman’s recapture Friday in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, after six months on the run. In the interview, Guzman defends his work at the head of the world’s biggest drug trafficking organization, one blamed for thousands of killings. A Mexican federal law enforcement official said it was the Penn interview that led authorities to Guzman in a rural part of Durango state in October.
A coalition of Baltimore and national media outlets has intervened in court to call for broader transparency and increased access to legal documents in the prosecution of the Baltimore police officers in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, reports the Baltimore Sun. The group yesterday asked for access to sealed documents, trial transcripts, evidence, and future moments during trials when jurors leave the courtroom to view evidence. It also asked the court to refrain from admonishing jurors not to talk about their experiences after their service is concluded, as Judge Barry Williams did with jurors in the recent trial of officer William Porter. “Especially in a case like this, it’s critical that the process be as transparent as possible, and we think there are a number of areas where transparency can be improved,” said Nathan Siegel, an attorney for the media coalition. “They are issues that came up in the course of the first Porter trial.