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Carlos Miller Acquitted Again

Carlos Miller, the Miami photojournalist behind the blog Photography Is Not a Crime, has been acquitted of disobeying a police order while covering an Occupy protest in that city. This is the third time he’s been arrested and acquitted on similar charges for photographing the police doing their jobs. His attorney made a powerful argument:

“In this country, when you’re a journalist, your job is to investigate.

Not to be led by your hand where the police want you to see, so they can hide what they don’t want you to see.

No, when you’re a journalist, a real journalist, it’s your job to go find the truth. As long as you are acting within the law as Mr. Miller was, you have the right to demand and say, ‘no, I’m not moving, I have the right to be here. This is a public sidewalk, I have the right to be here.’

He did his job. He has the right to do his job the way he sees fit. It’s not up to these prosecutors to tell anybody, much less an independent journalist, how to do their job. It’s not up to the police officers, it’s not up to a judge or the president.

In this country, journalists do their job the way they see fit.

What’s he describing is Cuba. What he’s describing is a communist country. The government says you can’t be here because I say you can’t be here.

And it’s infuriating to me that a prosecutor would try to get up here and try to convince you that just because a police officer says something, that he has to bow his head and walk away.

That is a disgrace to the Constitution of this country.”

Miller was the only one arrested that night, even though several other journalists were there on the same sidewalk. And one of those other journalists testified for him at the trial, saying that he was doing nothing differently than they all were doing.

As reported before, the local police actually sent out an email with Carlos’ picture in it, calling him a troublemaker, so officers could look out for him. It’s the third time they’ve done this and the third time they’ve lost. You’d think they’d give up by now.

Comments

  1. alanb says

    It’s the third time they’ve done this and the third time they’ve lost. You’d think they’d give up by now.

    Why? Unlike Mr. Miller, the police get paid for testifying and don’t have to pay for an attorney. They have no incentive to end their harassment.

  2. Ben P says

    That is one thing that law and order gets halfway right.

    Jury trials are as much emotion driven things as they are fact and logic driven things. You win by giving the jury a reason to believe the facts you’ve presented. That is a powerful closing argument.

  3. Ben P says

    Why? Unlike Mr. Miller, the police get paid for testifying and don’t have to pay for an attorney. They have no incentive to end their harassment.

    It also bears pointing out that this is probably why a junior lawyer was on the case. At the end of the day being a trial lawyer is like being a competitive athlete. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

    It’s very easy for the prosecutor’s office to shuffle off a weak case onto a junior lawyer and say “run with it. Maybe you win, maybe you lose, but you’ll learn something either way.”

  4. Artor says

    I wonder if Miller is considering a countersuit? This case makes pretty solid documentation of a campaign of illegal harassment by the police.

  5. noastronomer says

    I never really understood how the blanket crime of “disobeying a police order” came about anyway since effectively that gives a police officer the power to arrest anyone at anytime.

    Mike.

  6. billgascoyne says

    I see no incentive here for the police to cease to arrest him and then have him show up in court and be acquitted. There seems to be no difference between three times and a hundred times. By arresting him, they’ve accomplished their end. They have no incentive to stop arresting him until they get smacked good and hard by a court order or a monetary punishment.

  7. gorgias says

    Maybe they think that if they arrest him enough times, a charge will eventually stick. Sadly enough, they’re probably right.

  8. machintelligence says

    Perhaps it’s time for some sort of “three strikes and you’re out” law for the cops. Arrest him one more time and if he’s acquitted you go to jail.

  9. jollywahlstrom says

    The cops will catch him driving a car and then they will have the right, according to SCOTUS, to strip search him. If this went to the Supremes, they would probably rule against the photographer.

  10. Drew says

    were all the arrests made in the same city? If so couldn’t he have a good case for malicious prosecution and make a good amount of money off the city?

  11. gratch says

    Nice to see an actual journalist practising actual journalism. And sad to see the fake journalists not reporting anything about it.

  12. says

    I never really understood how the blanket crime of “disobeying a police order” came about anyway…

    It comes about so cops can take certain measures very quickly in cases where there’s an immediate threat to public safety; i.e., ordering a crowd to disperse to prevent either a riot or blockage of public access, ordering people to move cars to the side of a road, ordering people away from a place where there’s a danger of collapse or explosion, that sort of thing. It’s legitimate, but it’s clearly being abused in cases like this.

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