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Blogger Freed After 226 Days in Jail For Contempt

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the little-site-big-stand dept.

The Internet 224

frdmfghtr writes "Over at CNN is a report that a blogger has been freed after spending 226 days in jail — a record for a journalist held in contempt. 'Wolf had been found in contempt for refusing to obey a subpoena to turn over his video from a July 2005 protest during the G-8 economic summit where anarchists were suspected of vandalizing a San Francisco police car. One city officer was struck during the rally and his skull was fractured ... California's shield law allows reporters to keep sources and unpublished material secret. But there is no federal shield law protecting reporters from federal investigations. The National Writer's Union, which represents freelance writers, said in a statement that Wolf should never have been jailed. "The abuses visited on Josh and other journalists are part of an effort by governments at all levels to control the volume, flow and content of the information that reaches the public," the union said.'"

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Attn. Linux Users (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644111)

Q: Why does 'Open Source' software suck so bad?
A: Because the programmers can't see the screen [ukdirtypanties.com]

lol

Typical Linux User. [ukdirtypanties.com]

Oh, and First Post, faggos.

Real mature (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644177)

Once again, we see the maturity level of a typical non-Linux user. Pathetic.

Why does closed-source software suck?

I don't know. It's closed so there's no way you can possibly know how much it sucks.

Re:Real mature (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644195)

I'm not the sick fuck with the menstrual pad fixation. Wouldn't it be a miracle, though, if the bloodstain was penguin-shaped? Nice shades, pervert.

Little iron in your diet?

Re:Real mature (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644283)

shut up you whining little linux bitch. linux is for fags and it sucks. it sucks much dick infact. or do you like being fucked by the linux faggots?

Re:Real mature (1, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644435)

Never used anything besides Windows , am i right ? You should try Ubuntu at least . that's should be easy enough for you .

Re:Real mature (2, Informative)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644487)

How about this? if you don't like it, don't use it! SIMPLE AS THAT. unlike other OS's, nobody is going to force you to use Linux.

let me guess your age... 13 at max. If you're going to act like an asshole, at least think of something original and get yourself a real ID. At least then I would know who to add to my list of people to ignore.

Re:Real mature (2, Funny)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644553)

Irony may not be the word, but a person asking other guys to suck his dick, and calling those guys fags is at the least... funny.

Re:Attn. Linux Users (2, Funny)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644469)

Why isn't there something lower than -1, offtopic? There should be a -3, offtopic, flamebait, troll.

If you're the parent poster, or you have ever posted something like that, then you computer should fry itself. You do not deserve it. Your very presence should make computers homicidal(towards you) or suicidal.

Re:Attn. Linux Users (1, Informative)

Dilaudid (574715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644775)

Dear AC, I wonder how you just happened upon these pictures from "ukdirtypanties.com"? Do you have a large collection of links to use on these occasions?

lol
Glad one person laughed at your joke :)

On topic - 226 days is amazing. Can't believe journalists aren't protected...

Blogger jailed? (-1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644119)

What does him being a blogger have to do with his crime? Why isn't it "car driver jailed"?

Re:Blogger jailed? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644173)

Interesting? Seriously? He was jailed for something quite related to his blogging (I assume he was video taping the event in his capacity as a "journalist" for his blog). He was /not/ however jailed for driving, so your suggestion is retarded.

Re:Blogger jailed? (2, Interesting)

Mr Jazzizle (896331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644175)

Because, as a blogger, he'll want all the freedoms of a journalist, but he's complaining that he's getting the short end of the stick in this particular situation. So, people can either argue that he's not a REAL journalist, so he shouldn't of been held in contempt for keeping information secret, or that everything is fair because he gets all the rights of a journalist, so he gets the responsibility of a journalist, as well. That said, I think it's silly to force someone to show video they have, but also think that it's silly to keep it from the court, unless he's trying to keep it from the court to his own advantage.

Re:Blogger jailed? (1, Informative)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644187)

Because his arrest was a direct consequence of him posting a video of a protest on his blog. A grand jury wanted him to release the entirety of the video so they could unmask some of the protesters, but he refused. The thing is, California has a law which says they can't do that, while the Federal government doesn't respect that.

Re:Blogger jailed? (1)

gogojcp (957158) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644247)

protesters that vandalized a police car.

Re:Blogger jailed? (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644303)

And fractured a cop's skull. As far as I remember, cops share the same rights as protesters. I wonder if he'd have been reluctant to hand over the video if it had been the other way around (protester's skull fractured).

And when it proves that there is no such footage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644627)

As Wolf said, there is no other criminal activity and the cop and car wallop aren't on the video, should the feds be done for slander?

Oh, no, they can't because the feds are immune to that sort of allegation. Unlike the public...

Re:Blogger jailed? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644253)

Federal law supersedes state law, so they don't have to respect it. Since he wanted to protect his criminal buddies, he spent nearly a year being someone's new girlfriend. Whether he learned his lesson or not is anyone's guess. fucking retard.

His blog (1)

Esteanil (710082) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644431)

His blog [joshwolf.net] should shed some light on the issues you and others have been asking.

Excuse me but (0)

timecop (16217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644121)

Since when are "bloggers" considered "journalists"?

Re:Excuse me but (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644185)

Journalist: a person who keeps a journal, diary, or other record of daily events.

Re:Excuse me but (2, Informative)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644199)

D' Oh! Hit submit too soon.

What I meant to post was....

Journalist: a person who keeps a journal, diary, or other record of daily events.

Blogger: a person who keeps a Web log (blog) or publish an online diary

Re:Excuse me but (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644263)

By that definition, Anna Nicole Smith would be considered a journalist since she kept a diary.

Re:Excuse me but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644221)

Since web sites became the most prevalent paper for news distribution. Considering the consolidation of the mass media, and that it is perfectly legal for them to falsify news, it's not a moment too soon.

Re:Excuse me but (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644249)

Since they decided that's what they wanted to be called. Just like someone who sells crab grass to cure a runny nose wants to be considered a doctor. So apparently any time you don't want to tell the authorities something that someone else told you, all you have to do is say "but I'm a blogger!".

So, they kept him locked up in contempt until his senses caught up with his fat ego. I would suggest they do the same to all the other bloggers who think that they're Walter Fucking Cronkite, just because they have a textarea box in their browser that they spew their oh-so-unique thoughts into.

Delicate Balance (4, Insightful)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644135)

Balancing the rights of journalists and the need for information by the legal system is extremely tricky, and to be honest, I'm not sure where the balance should lie in this case. My gut instinct is that the blogger should turn over the video, but part of me is yelling "slippery slope" inside.

The most obvious standard for turning over material would be "criminal activity only," but that isn't liberal enough -- what happens when the alleged act shouldn't be a crime to begin with? (See, for example, the PATRIOT Act and DMCA, in many cases.)

Re:Delicate Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644211)

Yeah, it is difficult to determine the point where someone should have the shield protection of a journalist vs. the requirements of a citizen to cooperate with law enforcement (meaning that you have to report relevant information about a crime that you have witnessed when you are asked under oath). If we said that any blogger could have protection, then someone who blogs about cats would have protection in this instance. I would say that the only blogs that should have protection are the ones that are relevant to the topic at hand and their content would suffer if they revealed sources. This is not the case for a blogger taping a random anarchist rally (unless he or she was protecting the source that tipped off the location).

Re:Delicate Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644215)

Balancing the rights of journalists and the need for information by the legal system is extremely tricky, and to be honest, I'm not sure where the balance should lie in this case.


Little bit of of torturing have never hurt anyone. I think bloggers should be waterboarded and sent to Egypt or Israel for a two week vacation before being endlocated to holiday camp Gitmo.

Re:Delicate Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644231)

You can start with Michelle Malkin, Charlie Johnson, and the ilk.

Re:Delicate Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644361)

Don't forget Markos and Atrios!

Re:Delicate Balance (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644219)

I don't see this as a case of what journalists should be forced to do, but a case of states rights versus federal rights. The state says he doesn't have to, the fact the state can come along and say "we don't care what your laws are, we'll do what we want" is not a good thing.

Re:Delicate Balance (5, Informative)

Nadsat (652200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644491)

I don't feel he is just some fighting some blind cause. It was more than a matter of simply turning over the tape. Below, words from his blog - http://www.joshwolf.net/ [joshwolf.net]

Contrary to popular opinion, this legal entanglement which has held me in Federal Prision for the past eight months, has never been about a videotape nor is the investigation about the alleged attempted arson of a San Francisco police vehicle as the government claims. While it is true that I was held in custody for refusing to surrender the tape and that the justification for making a federal case out of this was the police car, things are not always as they appear. The reality is that this investigation is far more pervasive and perverse than a superficial examination will reveal.

When I was subpoenaed in February of last year, I was not only ordered to provide my unedited footage, but to also submit to testimony and examination before the secretive grand jury. Although I feel that my unpublished material should be shielded from government demands, it was the testimony which I found to be the more egregious assault on my right and ethics as both a journalist and a citizen.

As there was nothing of a sensitive or confidential nature on my video outtakes, I had no reason to withhold their publication once I had exhausted all my legal appeals. When that point arrived I had already spent three months behind bars. I was advised by my legal team that publishing the video would not lead to my release; instead it would indicate to the court that my imprisonment was having a coercive effect even though it was not.

This hypothesis was verified when one of my attorney's inquired whether the Assistant US Attorney would accept the footage in lieu of my testimony, he was told that the video alone would not suffice and that the US Attorney would accept nothing less than my full compliance with the demands of the subpoena. Things change.

When the judge came to realize the support for my cause was growing and that I was unlikely to waver anytime soon, he ordered both parties to meet with a magistrate judge in the hopes we could reach a solution amenable to everyone. After two rather strenuous sessions of mediation, we at last came to an agreement that not only leaves my ethics intact but actively serves the role of a free press in our so-called free socieity.

In the words of Justice Douglas, "The press has a preferred position in our constitutional scheme, not to enable it to make money, not to set newsmen apart as a favored class, but to bring fulfillment to the public's right to know".

EVeryone knows the govt is evil!!!! (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644771)

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/l a-na-goodling7apr07,1,1880249.story?coll=la-news-p olitics-national&ctrack=1&cset=true [latimes.com]

Because NY Times sucks, as it makes old articles 'pay for view'

Wow, since when is history for sale? Ahh its only for the rich to know the truth.

Any way... the US govt is evil, etc.. yadda yadda... scum bags , or shit bags.

If Jesus was here today, he would turn those attorneys into instant dust and LOL, be damned, worship the ORI!!!

Re:Delicate Balance (-1, Flamebait)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645237)

So, the dick spent time in jail rather than testify? Wow, join the club of 'journalists'.

There are a few states that grant journalists the right to cover up -- uh, not disclose -- information they have concerning a felony. The feds don't. This guy didn't want to give up asshats that torched a police car? Rot in jail.

No, there is no slippery slope. (3, Interesting)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645269)

There is no constitutional right to obstruct an investigation. Quite the reverse. Journalist shields laws are inane precisely because of cases like this.

What is a journalist? In an era when every single one of us "publishes" online, why aren't we all journalists? Given that we are, by any sane definition, all we have to do whenever subpoenaed is assert our right as journalists to keep our information to ourselves just in case we want to publish them.

Even prior to this era, shield laws created a special, unregulated, class of citizen: "The Journalist." Unlike every other type of American, Journalists are permitted to keep secrets without oversight. While the government is supposed to conduct all it's operations in public, while celebrities have no expectation of privacy whatsoever, while intimate details of all of our lives have alway been available to anyone who wandered down to the county courthouse, we have decided that noble Journalists are uniquely trustworthy and do not require any scrutiny of their motives and actions?

Feh.

IN UNRELATED NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644139)

More Videos Mocking Thai King Posted on YouTube


Although YouTube yanked a video mocking the king of Thailand, the military regime currently running the country continues to block access to the video-sharing website. The reason: the prompt posting of at least two additional videos mocking the king. Minister of Information and Communications Technology Sittichai Pookaiyaudom said that YouTube will continue to be blocked "until all the offensive clips have gone." However, today's (Friday) Bangkok Post observed that the ban "now seems to have touched off a firestorm of web-based retaliation that could see rapid escalation of offensive references to the monarchy on the Internet."

Please people, let governments of the world know this shit will not fly but for the short trip to fly back in their own faces. More blogs. More videos. More freedom.

cant trade... (1)

ranga_the_don (956067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644145)

He can't trade in "freedom to speech" to something else...

When your news content model consists of merely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644149)

...pasting other people's ORIGINAL writing, you are not a journalist. Generate ORIGINAL content, on a regular basis, and then you can be considered a journalist. Otherwise you are a mere plagarist.

Re:When your news content model consists of merely (4, Interesting)

AchiIIe (974900) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644255)

> ...pasting other people's ORIGINAL writing, you are not a journalist.

Did you bother reading the article? This guy was not just a blogger who got the latest digg.com headlines and commented on them. He had a camera and went down in the trenches to obtain original footage. Yet he is not registered as a journalist.

But the thing most people here miss -- even if he was a journalist they could still have jailed him. The law protects him from local police investigations, not from Federal investigations. He was easy prey.

On the other hand... WTF dude, a cop was almost killed and you refuse to hand over the tape?

Re:When your news content model consists of merely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644301)

WTF dude, a cop was almost killed and you refuse to hand over the tape?

So what? Is a cops life worth more than anyone else's?

Fuck an almost dead cop. If he wanted to life a life devoid of physical danger, he should have been a florist. I wonder how many skulls did he crack before someone returned the favor.

Re:When your news content model consists of merely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644393)

"Fuck an almost dead cop."

Spoken like a true AC piece of shit.

Re:When your news content model consists of merely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644551)

IIRC the 'original' tape wasn't needed. He was ready to testify who was responsible, but for some reason they wanted the original tape and went all out to get it. If you got eye-witnesses and the option to get a scene from the tape with all the info you need, why do you want to confiscate the tape?

Both parties are more than a little boneheaded. Especially calling it a federal case because the police car in the scene had federal founding is more than a little powerplay.

this is bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644197)

this little assfuck should have been brought up on higher charges. a person, regurdless of their profession, was physically attacked. refusing to hand over evidence in the face of a crime is a crime in and of itself. he's withholding evidence and he should be punished as such.
 
then again, he's was probably enjoying his time in jail being raped by other prisoners. little bastard. too bad no one shanked him and left him to die.

Government control? (1, Insightful)

Mr Jazzizle (896331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644201)

It's a court asking to see video of a crime so that they can arrest some people for bashing an officers head in. This is NOT the same thing as the government suppressing journalism or controlling what information reaches the public as this is spun to sound. No one is infringing on the journalist's right to publish what he wants, they're asking him to show them evidence that could lead to the arrest of criminals.

Re:Government control? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644505)

I suppose you don't get the part where journalists feel that they need to honour the trust of privacy between themselves and their informant. Disagree with that if you must, but what you're saying doesn't seem relevant here.

Re:Government control? (1)

Mr Jazzizle (896331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644671)

Does the journalist have to reveal their source to show the video to a court? Or are you saying that trusting someone includes keeping evidence from police? I think that's iffy. But I absolutely agree that journalists should be able to keep their sources secret, but what has that got to do with their information, especially evidence in a criminal case?

Re:Government control? (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644795)

Informant? What informant? As GP said: "It's a court asking to see video of a crime so that they can arrest some people for bashing an officers head in." If there was an informant - a fact I don't recall even though I RTFA - it is a completely separate issue.
Sorry, but it is parent post that is relevacy challenged.

Re:Government control? (1)

azrider (918631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645009)

I suppose you don't get the part where journalists feel that they need to honour the trust of privacy between themselves and their informant.
Informant? What informant? He was the one who shot the videotape. This takes him out of the realm of journalist and puts him squarely in the position of witness. As such, the "shield" journalists should be provided is irrelevant. No journalist (real or imagined) can or should have the right to evade the requirements of being a citizen by claiming a shield where one does not (and should not) exist. If Mr. Wolf had received the video from someone who was involved in the fracas, he might have had a claim. Instead, he cried "I am a journalist" while deciding not to follow the clear legal requirements involved in being a witness (this is assuming that he only observed, not participated). If he was a participant, his fifth amendment rights, not first amendment were the appropriate argument to use.
In short, whether or not a "blogger" is a "journalist", no shield exists that prevents a citizen from the duty (ethically and morally) to provide available evidence of a crime which happened while they were observing it.

National Writer's Union has it backwards here (2, Interesting)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644205)

"The abuses visited on Josh and other journalists are part of an effort by governments at all levels to control the volume, flow and content of the information that reaches the public," the union said.'"

Except in this case Josh is the one trying to hide information. If that tape got out the "peaceful" protestor's PR spin of doing nothing wrong would be shattered.

Journalist? (0, Troll)

gogojcp (957158) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644207)

He was not a journalist, and he was not protecting a source. He was a citizen who refused to cooperate with a police investigation. Not a hero, probably just another victim of his own fantasies and ignorance of what freedom of the press actually means.

Ultimately he was only a pawn, used by the real journalists as a sympathetic figure in their attempt to push through some kind of special privileges for themselves.

If these journalists really beleive in what they are doing, why not spend time in jail in the rare case where protecting a source is important? (Not this case.) Soldiers and police put a lot more on the line every day to protect everyone's freedom. Some things are worth the sacrifice and sometimes the sacrifice is the only way to keep those things valuable.

Re:Journalist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644609)

What is so special about real journalists? Is there no such thing as a poor real journalist or an admirable fake journalist? Maybe it was just a human, they should have different rights from the rest of us.

Journalist. (4, Insightful)

Brown (36659) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644613)

So, what makes someone a Journalist, and therefore protected from potential abuses of authority in order to provide the people with the infomation they need for democracy to be something more than a stage-managed farce?

Who decides?

There are 3 options:
A) A journalist is someone 'licenced' as such by a government body. I'm sure everyone can see the danger in that...
B) A journalist is someone 'licenced' as such by a media coporation, such as Fox News, CNN, ...
C) A journalist is someone who *journals* - who records events for posterity and/or to inform the people.

I personally feel that C is the most sensible, and by far the safest for society. In any rate, FTA: "Wolf, a freelancer, sold some footage to San Francisco television stations and posted it on his Web site, but refused to turn over unpublished material." So both B and C would classify him as a Journalist.

-Chris

What am i missing? (0, Flamebait)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644209)

"The abuses visited on Josh and other journalists are part of an effort by governments at all levels to control the volume, flow and content of the information that reaches the public," the union said.'"
I thought this case was about a video blogger not giving the cops a video of some people damaging a cop car and setting it on fire. Now about the government suppressing information.

I think the only "suppressing information" going on here is the wolf guy's insistence on protecting thugs who torched the cop car by not turning the video over. And I'm wondering why they he won't turn it over, he said it doesn't show anything. Seems to me he should just require the prosecutors to pay a reasonable fee for every time the video or excerpts show up on the news and let them see the damn thing.

I bet two things would have happened, the prosecutor would make sure it doesn't show up anywhere the wolf guy didn't approve of and the case against him which was not letting them see what they think was evidence would have been dropped. This clown spent a good amount of time in jail because of his own wishes. I don't have any sympathy for him. Especially when the Union tries to spin it in a way that isn't related to the case.

Re:What am i missing? (0, Troll)

KarlHMarx (1084397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644265)

How is this any different than the police spying on their own citizens (aka NYC Police Department). It's different because he is a private citizen, and he has the right to publish, or NOT PUBLISH his information. I'm sure that Winston would be quite proud of a person like you, I mean, a thought crime has happened, and by not turning over the information, he's supporting 'them'. The issue here is that the federal government abusing it's power to imprison someone who disagrees with the bush regime's 'control of the media'.

Re:What am i missing? (1)

VisceralLogic (911294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644365)

It has nothing to do with "control of the media"... it's about evidence in criminal investigation. It's not like he was even protecting any sources, anyway, he was just filming a bunch of random people.

Re:What am i missing? (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644375)

Refusing to testify and withholding evidence is illegal in most judicial systems around the world. By publishing the video he made public the fact the evidence exists and he's got it. If a judge requests it as evidence of a crime, he's got to give it to the court.

On the other hand, it's funny to see how the media/journalists/periodists/self-called-whatever shriek when any of their "targets" does not disclose information; but they themselves are so adept at withholding whatever they want.

Re:What am i missing? (5, Insightful)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644447)

If any journalist can be forced to provide any information (including raw footage of demonstrations and providing sourced) to the police, they will be treated like the police, and we, the public, will get little or no information any more about these events, about these people and their motivations. This is obviously a bad thing.

If just anybody can claim to be a journalist and clam up, police and prosecution will have a lot less evidence to work with and have great problems prosecuting anyone. This is obviously a bad thing too.

The trick is to strike a balance between these public interests. That's a nuanced discussed not ideally suited to slashdot.

One thing you can say is: if this guy withstood 226 days of imprisonment and still didn't turn over the tapes, it seems pretty obvious that the court is taking extreme liberties with this guys personal freedoms, without producing results.
All the more irksome is that the guy went to jail without a real trial. For all we know the tapes, not having been physically entered into evidence, never actually existed, and the whole thing is based on hearsay and a confession.

Of course, the prevailing public mood in any case seems to be "something bad happened, so someone should go to jail". We live in interesting times.

Re:What am i missing? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644481)

I think the problem is that he published (sold?) parts of the tape and, therefore, the existence of the tapes is not in question.

Re:What am i missing? (2, Interesting)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645271)

One thing you can say is: if this guy withstood 226 days of imprisonment and still didn't turn over the tapes, it seems pretty obvious that the court is taking extreme liberties with this guys personal freedoms, without producing results.

No. What you can say is it hasn't produced results. No extreme liberties were taken. He refused to comply with a testimony order and, like thousands before him, sat in jail awaiting the time he would or they decided they didn't need it any more for some reason. Perfectly legal as it was his choice to not cooperate with bringing felons to justice.

Re:What am i missing? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645051)

On the other hand, it's funny to see how the media/journalists/periodists/self-called-whatever shriek when any of their "targets" does not disclose information; but they themselves are so adept at withholding whatever they want.

WTF? That's how it's supposed to work! Information must flow from the government to the people, not the other way around; otherwise it perpetuates tyranny.

How is this insightful? (2, Informative)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644517)

If you had actually read TFA (oh noes, people on /. don't RTFA???), you would have seen that the footage this guy was withholding did not contain the alleged crimes authorities are investigating, and he had told them from the beginning that that was the case. If you had read any of the other articles about this case, you would also know that the blogger was not concerned about protecting "some people damaging a cop car and setting it on fire," but rather protecting the identities of the rest of the law abiding protesters who had attended the protest. There were serious suspicions that the government was trying to get this tape as a way of documenting the protesters and possibly flagging them as subversives/terrorists/pariahs-du-jour. He was also concerned with the protection of a journalist from having to reveal sources and showing in Court that those protections extend to freelance bloggers as well. Without those protections, the press turns into nothing more than a mouthpiece for the government's "goodspeak." None of which has anything directly to do with protecting a couple vandals.

Re:How is this insightful? (4, Interesting)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644585)

There were serious suspicions that the government was trying to get this tape as a way of documenting the protesters and possibly flagging them as subversives/terrorists/pariahs-du-jour.

Oh, and the fact that the government was willing to take over the case from California State officials, claiming that the case belonged in Federal jurisdiction because the SF police department receive a little Homeland Security money, shows just how far the government was willing to go to do an end-run around the California shield law.

Grand jury (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644843)

...the footage this guy was withholding did not contain the alleged crimes authorities are investigating, and he had told them from the beginning that that was the case.
That may be true, but it does not get to the guts of the issue, which is who gets to make that decision? Are we really going to grant a journalist the ability to say "I don't think it is relevant to your case, so you can't have it" ?
Somebody has to decide if the footage is relevant, and it should be an impartial party - not the jounalist, not the cops. This is why we have grand juries.

Re:Grand jury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645071)

> Somebody has to decide if the footage is relevant, and it should be an impartial party - not the jounalist, not the cops. This is why we have grand juries

From Wikipedia:
--
Charges involving "capital or infamous crimes" under federal jurisdiction must be presented to a grand jury, under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This has been interpreted to permit bypass of the grand jury for misdemeanor offenses, which can be charged by prosecutor's information. ...
Some argue that the grand jury is unjust as the defendant is not represented by counsel and/or does not have the right to call witnesses. Intended to serve as a check on prosecutors, the opportunity it presents them to compel testimony can in fact prove useful in building up the case they will present at the final trial.

In practice, a grand jury rarely acts in a manner contrary to the wishes of the prosecutor. Judge Sol Wachtler, the disbarred former Chief Judge of New York State, was quoted as saying, "A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich."
--

Doesn't sound impartial to me. Whether or not the video is relevant is not relevant! As a journalist the man has specially protected rights to free speech. Just because the boundary between journalist and citizen has blurred does not mean this is a bad thing -- blurring should strengthen the rights of ordinary citizens if anything. Those rights have been abused. The prosecutors and judges who enact that abuse ought to pay for it with public, tarnished practice records of their own that can be cited in future legal proceedings.

Re:Grand jury (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645289)

As a journalist the man has specially protected rights to free speech.

Only as long as he doesn't actively protect a crinimal, which is what the GJ is about. He (this guy) was a witness, not a defendant.

Re:Grand jury (2, Informative)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645335)

Somebody has to decide if the footage is relevant, and it should be an impartial party - not the jounalist, not the cops. This is why we have grand juries.


Actually, that's why we have judges. Judges decide matters of law. And the tape was offered to the judge to view so that he could see there was no evidentiary value to it, it was the government attorneys who refused to allow the judge to view the evidence.

A small matter of fructured skull (1, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644229)

1. A violent crime has been committed
2. The blogger directly recorded videos in question, so he is only protecting perpetrators of a crime, not innocent bystanders

I don't see how this is different from a regular individual who witnesses a crime and refuses to testify. If we allow this, anyone can claim to be an amateur journalist just because they don't want to testify about their buddies or bother coming to court. And we compare this to a political leak, it would like someone pointing out that one of the Senators is sleeping with underage boys but refusing to reveal which one.

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644325)

So, if my testifying would put me in danger... too bad for me?
If my testifying about that incident would expose other people to more serious problems, then too bad for them and me?

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (1, Interesting)

Evets (629327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644327)

I personally don't care what kind of crime has been committed. Throwing a guy in jail because he won't let you see his home video for a year is a crime in and of itself.

He obviously had reasons for not giving it up. It could be that there was other information on the same tape he didn't want prosecutors to see. It could be that it was terribly inconvenient to provide the video. It could be that there was nothing on the video in the first place. Or heck, it could be that he video taped himself vandalizing the car.

It's his private property, and the government has no right to it, or at least should not have a right to it. The slippery slope has already been laid for the government to take whatever property they want - just about anything could be justified with one lying cop, one aggressive prosecutor, and/or one judge.

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (1, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644341)

So basically, if you killed someone on the block and people who saw it are either your buddies or are shit scared of you, you get to walk away free?

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (5, Insightful)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644533)

So basically, if you killed someone on the block and people who saw it are either your buddies or are shit scared of you, you get to walk away free?

Well, yeah. If there's no other evidence against you, then you're home free.

--Jeremy

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (1)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644531)

This isn't some random government jerk asking to look inside your house. This was a subpoena from federal court on information related to a violent crime. You can't pick and choose which evidence you want to provide to a grand jury for obvious reasons. This is not a freedom of the press or freedom of speech issue. They didn't take his property. They didn't publish it against his will. They didn't prevent him from publishing it. This is a very simple case that is remarkable only for the duration that he kept his head up his ass. If you withhold evidence from a trial you will go to jail.

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (1)

symes (835608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644493)

Absolutely - I get the feeling here that 'wolf' has acted as judge and jury in his own mind in deciding that the video in question contains nothing of relevance. I can understand why someone would protect the identity of a whistle-blower, political activist, etc.. particularly where revealing their identity could put them in danger (e.g. chinese activists, etc.). but ptotecting the identity of someone who physically assaults another person? I find the crime abhorrent and the desire to protect the perpetrator questionable.

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645063)

I can understand why someone would protect the identity of a whistle-blower, political activist, etc..

Then what don't you understand about the fact that there were apparently also other political activists (who did not attack the cop) in the video?

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644547)

2. The blogger directly recorded videos in question, so he is only protecting perpetrators of a crime, not innocent bystanders

If you read the whole story, you stupid fuck, you'd learn that the evidence they were fishing for did not exist on the tape. But the bullies got their way anyhow, by jailing the guy who made the video.

Re:A small matter of fructured skull (2, Informative)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644557)

1. TFA clearly states that the footage this guy was withholding did not contain the alleged crimes authorities are investigating, and he had told them that from the beginning.
2. If you take your argument to its most logical conclusion, then no one should get journalistic protection, journalists would constantly be harassed into turning over their sources due to some social need/homeland security issue, and the media would finally completely transform into just a mouthpiece for government goodspeak/doublespeak.

he should have pled the 1-2-3-4-fifth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644277)

he should have pled the 1-2-3-4-fifth!

protection of sources (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644333)

Protection of sources does not extend to people who have committed a crime. this jerk wad filmed a bunch of people vandalising a car and hitting a cop. why should they be protected because he wrote a piece about it? they weren't interviewed, they aren't some secret source. this guys just an attention whore, and i hope he rots in jail and gets a few visits from the "sisters" for protecting these fucks.

Re:protection of sources (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644413)

I'm no expert, but reading the article seems to indicate that there were no sources anyway--just himself. He took the footage, he published it, he sold parts of it. I doubt "protection of sources" would extend to viewing oneself as a source. Then again, this is a crazy world.

Re:protection of sources (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644441)

Extending my last comment, if protection of sources extended to myself, what's to stop me video taping myself performing an act of violence, videotaping myself and then putting it on my blog and when the law comes knocking claim I cannot hand over the evidence because I am protecting my source (me)?

Re:protection of sources (1)

Mr Jazzizle (896331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644695)

IANAL, but you have the constitutional right to not self-incriminate. They couldn't force you to hand over the video of you committing a crime if you took the video, because it'd be sealing your own fate, and that's not cool. However, POSTING the video of you committing crime counts, I believe, as waiving that right, and you'd look like a flaming fool if you tried to say police couldn't use that as evidence.

A simple concept (1)

Ribbo.com (885396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644347)

Don't withold information from a police investigation. The problem here is that individuals believe they are above the law and are doing it in the interests of the common man. A lot of people are willing to use the system so long as it works for them, then soon as something happens that places them in trouble, all of a sudden the system is a flawed, err, system that shouldn't be pandered to. The truth of the situation is if you know information concerning a crime that has been committed, it is in your interest to speak up, especially if you are a "journalist". We have some darn strange journalists who don't seem to realise they are meant to report the truth. I don't understand the mentality of someone willing to do time for a crime someone else committed, feels very mafia like to me, and we don't want a return to those days...

Re:A simple concept (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644535)

Well I suppose I agree with you, not all crimes are wrong (not refering to any one specifically) and I think it is rarely (subject to correction) really in ones "interest" to speakup. Speaking up just tends to be the "right thing to do", which is different. And your last statement makes it sound like "those days" are gone; maybe the name mafia isn't used, but these things still, and will always go on.

A better concept (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645167)

Don't provide any information to the government you don't feel that you should. Common sense tells us that we have a government run amok. Private citizens should judge the law and resist injustice. The law can be wrong, and it's up to the people to change it.


It is not necessarily in your interests as a (scare quote) journalist (scare quote) to speak up. I can think of no better way than to get treated as a plant than to start narcing on you sources. Then what would get published?

Re:A better concept (1)

Ribbo.com (885396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645321)

It's not a source if you're taking video footage of someone. Video footage is primary information, one that has come directly from you. Asking someone a question about an event is secondary information. There are laws protecting journalists being forced to give up their sources, but this was not a case of that, since by how I understand it, he took the video himself.

Sweet, so now we get to decide which laws to obey (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644349)

Ok, I haven't read this story, but I seem to remember the idea behind this from the previous story. Essentially, a guy shot some videos of a protest, at this protest an officer's skull got crushed. This "blogger" might have video of who did this, but he decided to hide behind a press shield law. There are so many things that are wrong about this way of thinking, it's hard to even know where to start.

- A judge ordered him to turn the tape over, he said there was nothing on the tape, and if there was, it's privileged. Now, I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that if a judge says to do something, you do it, or you face the consequences. It's not up to this guy to decide if the tape is relevant. Here's a Slashdot car analogy for you all: if two people are in a car, and they get pulled over on a possible DUI, can the person in the passenger seat say "don't worry officer, I've tested him, he's not drunk" and have the cop accept it? Of course not, if the cop asks you to take the DUI test, you're going to do it, or face the consequences. There are avenues to try and overturn things (appeals for instance) if you don't like the outcome.

- He's hiding behind the Constitution, but has decided to completely ignore another law, I didn't know that we can just pick and choose which laws we all obey. Cool, I'll remember that from now on.

- In reality, the person/people who hurt the cop need to man up and step forward to take their punishment. It's really easy to be part of a mob and just blend in, and as long as nobody gets hurt, that's all good. But if you're part of that mob, and someone paid to protect you gets seriously injured, it's time to do the right thing and step forward. It's the whole "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time" idea.

In reality, this guy being a "blogger" has nothing to do with this story. This is some jackass who has decided that he knows what's right more than the lawyers, the judge, etc. and instead of working through the channels to challenge things, he took a stand. Hope you enjoyed your time in jail dude, it was all for nothing. Find a better way to "stick it to the man".

Re:Sweet, so now we get to decide which laws to ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644371)

The fact you are here talking about him shows that it was not "all for nothing."

Re:Sweet, so now we get to decide which laws to ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644429)

Oh, yeah this Wolf piece of shit and those anarachists at G8 who assault police officers are why we're all on Slashdot tonight speaking our mind. Yeah right, you fucking idiot.

I have to assert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644405)

That judging from his photo in the article he should have been jailed. Oh... sorry, 'tis me judging books by covers again. Damn.

So far everyone has missed the point... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644407)

I'm very disappointed by the first dozen or so Slashdot comments. We all know most people who comment don't RTFA but this case is right up the alley of most Slashdotters...

For those of us still in the world with free thinking and actually use the rights afforded to us by the Constitution, this is a worrisome trend. Since 9/11, local, state and federal officers in both uniforms and plain clothes have been monitoring protesters. In particular, they want to know who the leaders and most vocal of the bunch are. This is then followed by the creation of dossiers outlining the activities of these people who exercise their right to dissent against mainsteam political opinions. With the advent of the PATRIOT act and various other "terrorism" related laws, wiretaps, probing of bank records, etc. are used not only to intimidate but silence anything that Big Brother doesn't agree with.

The point all of you have missed is that Wolf's footage never included vandalism of the police car--which was reported by the city of San Francisco to be nothing more than a broken tail light. The assault on the officer was captured only on a photograph by another protester and was also never part of Wolf's footage. The official reason for the subpoena the video was so the panel could see if any other potential crimes were committed. This however wasn't really the case because it was suspected Mr. Wolf knew the identities of people who choose to mask their faces during the protest. Mr. Wolf refused to turn these over because nothing else was needed from those tapes other than the profiling of activists at the protest and he didn't want to be compelled on the stand to give up those identities. Mr. Wolf and his lawyers believe there is no reason to comply with a Grand Jury not called in good faith to subvert his First Amendment rights--the reason it was called was because apparently Federal funds helped to pay for the police car. He stayed in jail for 286 but eventually gave in. This is very worrisome!

Where is the Slashdot group-think now? So have all of you decided that you're now aligned with dossiers and profiling of people who exercise their Constitutional rights? Are we saying that any footage caught in a public place, even if we don't prompt the said incident, is our responsibility? I hope I'm wrong.

B.S. (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644443)

If the video really showed nothing, proove it to the court by allowing only the judge to see it - or something along those lines. You don't have to make it public or even turn it over to anyone.

Since all anyone has is his word it showed nothing, yet he also seemed to be protective of the people who hurt the officer, the court was right to find him in contempt.

You sir are wrong... (5, Informative)

Critical_ (25211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644513)

The GP poster needs to be modded up for actually know what s/he is talking about. From the Wiki page on : [wikipedia.org]

In a televised interview on February 9, 2007, Wolf and his attorney, Martin Garbus...

Wolf stated during his portion of the interview via phone from prison that he has offered to allow the judge to review "in camera" the raw footage to determine if there's any applicable evidence within the video and the U.S. Attorney's office refused the offer based on a legal technicality. Wolf also said that the raw video doesn't offer any more applicable evidence of the arson or assault charges.


It sounds like a witch hunt and you sound just like another poster who needs a good whack with a clue stick.

Re:B.S. (2, Informative)

dhwwwops (920864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644767)

During the course of this saga I have repeatedly offered to allow a judge to be the arbiter over whether or not my video material has any evidentiary value.

Down the page just before the video.
http://joshwolf.net/blog/ [joshwolf.net]

Re:So far everyone has missed the point... (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644457)

If it showed nothing else, then we are to take his word for it? Crap.

Re:So far everyone has missed the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644507)

Sure, if you wanted video tape of the incidents, why weren't you out there with your camera, dickwad?

Re:So far everyone has missed the point... (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644523)

Umm, because I don't want a tape of the incidents? dickwad.

Re:So far everyone has missed the point... (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644971)

I think that parent has erroneously joined together two separate issues - cops collecting private information and cops collecting public information. I wish to try to separate them:

For those of us still in the world with free thinking and actually use the rights afforded to us by the Constitution, this is a worrisome trend. Since 9/11, local, state and federal officers in both uniforms and plain clothes have been monitoring protesters. In particular, they want to know who the leaders and most vocal of the bunch are. This is then followed by the creation of dossiers outlining the activities of these people who exercise their right to dissent against mainsteam political opinions.

This is simply cops doing their job. When the non-mainsteam opinion is linked with violent crimes, a cop should be able to keep track of public actions and expressions. ( If the crime were, say, the gay-bashing and subsequent death of the guy in Wyoming, shall we deny the cops the ability to keep track of public anti-gay statements? Or when some black guy gets dragged to death behind a truck, should the cops have been allowed to keep tabs on public statements and acts of avowed rascists? )

With the advent of the PATRIOT act and various other "terrorism" related laws, wiretaps, probing of bank records, etc. are used not only to intimidate but silence anything that Big Brother doesn't agree with.
Now this is different. It is not public.

While I am as concerned as anyone about the government intruding into my privacy, I have no problem with the cops keeping track of public acts. The TFA is about public acts.

Re:So far everyone has missed the point... (2, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645159)

Further comments about the distinction between public and private:

The purpose of a shield law is to allow people to speak privately to journalist ( and BTW, I'll agree that Wolf qualifies as a journalist ). If he has private interviews of the rioters, they should be protected. If he personally knows the rioters - and there are reasonable claims that he does - that information is private and should be protected.

But the riots were a public act. Wolf taped them as anyone - including the cops - could have.

The real question here is: should a journalist should be allowed to take something that is public and make it private, and then claim protection under privacy laws?

Re:So far everyone has missed the point... (0)

Purist (716624) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645165)

First of all, I agree with the point that the government wanted the tape primarily for the purpose of uncovering additional parties to the protest...not the actual perpetrators of the vandalism to the car or those that caused the injury...

BUT

Since when is vandalism and violence a "Constitutional right"? If anything, the folks on the video make a living of depriving OTHERS of THEIR constitutional rights!

The protestors that show up at these economic summits (self proclaimed "anarchists") are basically a waste of space. Very few seem to have even a basic understanding of economics and appear to show up at these things simply to destroy (other people's) personal property, confront/harm anyone trying to keep the peace, and generally disrupt society!

Call me crazy, but I think there SHOULD be dossiers and profiling of people who are affiliated with these kinds of groups (and I use that term loosely) in an effort to ERADICATE any such groups!

Not about injury nor journalism nor withholding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644451)

Please whether he is a real journalist or not and whether he sucks because he didn't cooperate enough with police for some people or whether he saw a crime are not relevant to this case. It is all about a dubious line of reasoning used to circumvent a state law the prosecutors (or whatever puppetmaster behind the scenes) didn't like. The MSM has muddied the waters by constantly emphasizing the parts of the case they want to for misdirection.

I can't for the life of me understand why the MSM and legal and state's rights groups were not up in arms about this case. Regardless of what he did, who he is, whether he is really a journalist or not the spectacular thing about this case is:
The Feds decided they have jurisdiction in the case because a SFPD car was damaged and Federal monies (which were of course taken from the people and the local and state governments) were given to the SFPD therefore the Feds "own" a chunk of that car therefore they have jurisdiction.

Now by that logic any place or object associated with a crime, could by some tortured path, be connected back to federal monies and therefore the crimes could be prosecuted by the feds. MSM journalists have alot to lose in this case because next time that a prosecutor wants to strip a MSM journalist of their California rights they could ask the Feds for "help" prosecuting the case. The case happened on a highway - federal dollars from the DOT, happened on a farm federal dollars from farm aid, happened in a school federal dollars for NCLB, etc. The state's rights issues should be glaringly obvious. And the risk to MSM journalists having the same thing happen to them is huge and I bet it will if things heat up before the election and/or after if Bush wins again.

I don't normally ask, but please mod this up so people understand and discuss and spread the word about the real reason he was willing to sit in jail. Thanks.

Local car, federal case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644711)

If the police car in question was a locally owned and operated vehicle of the city/township/county/state and the officer that was injured was employed by the city/township/county/state, why was this matter in the hands of the federal government when it should have clearly been a matter for the city/township/county/state?
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