Federal Judge rules in FAC case: US can keep secret a legal memo on drone strikes targeting US citizen

In a national security case brought by the First Amendment Coalition, a federal judge has ruled that the Obama administration does not have to disclose a Justice Department legal memo explaining the legal rationale for drone strikes and, in particular, drone strikes abroad against suspected terrorists who are also US citizens. FAC’s suit, based on […]

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Attorneys Jean-Paul Jassy, Scott Lindlaw elected to FAC board of directors

FAC is pleased to announce the recent election of two first amendment attorneys to its board of directors. Jean-Paul Jassy, a partner in the law firm Jassy Vick Carolan, has often worked with FAC on First Amendment cases. Most recently he represented FAC in a case against the LA County Sheriff for access to visitor […]

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A&A: Denied access to letters of complaint regarding Airbnb rentals

Q: My local Neighborhood Council  put forth a motion in the Urban Design and Preservation Committee to ban short term rentals. Luckily one concerned neighbor caught it and individually contacted 100 Airbnb hosts, 50 of whom showed up at the Council meeting that night.  The Council referenced a complaint letter but wouldn’t show it to […]

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A&A: School denies access to all info about coach fired amid rumors players’ were abused.

Q: I cover school sports for the local newspaper and recently a coach was fired amid rumors that he/she was abusive toward players. Apparently the schools  feel no obligation to answer questions on the troubling situation. When asked, they invoke the phrase “personnel matter” like a talisman, and won’t say anything beyond either “the coach […]

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A&A: Minutes of City Council meetings don’t tell whole story

Q: A group of cizens allege the city is wrongly leaving out copies of correspondence the city received related to items on its agenda and powerpoint presentations related to agenda items. The council offers a limited number of copies of this information at the city clerk’s desk on the night of the meeting but it […]

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A&A: Does the CPRA cover private entities that do work for government?

 Q: I am a reporter  working on a story about a recent dog shooting by a police officer although animal control officers say they had the situation under control.  Reports were filed by both Humane Society animal control officers on  the scene when the dog was tasered and shot by the officer.  I understand one […]

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A&A: Can a public board limit comments to residents in their jurisdiction?

Q: Can a public board limit who can make comments during public comments to only members who live in their jurisdiction? During a recent community meeting held by our local public sewer/water district, there was a portion of time to comment on the plans they were discussing. They stated that only residents who live within their […]

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Records request fight costs NJ town $542k

Raritan Borough, New Jersey resisted turning over payroll records in machine readable format despite losing court rulings and now a special master says it should pay the Gannet newspapers that fought for the records more than a half million dollars for their legal costs. Read more at MyCentralNewJersey    

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A&A: Can a news photographer be threatened with arrest while covering a protest?

Q: As a newspaper photographer, I was covering a protest over Cal Trans clearing trees alongside the Highway just outside of town.   Then a CHP officer drove up and approached me saying ”you have to leave the area.” Then I asked the officer if I could walk just to the side and take a […]

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A&A: Can I be charged fees for downloading court records posted online?

Q: Riverside Superior Court changes fees to search and acquire court records through its website. This wasn’t always the case. Several years ago this service was provided for free, and that seems to still be the case in other counties. For the past three budget years, these fees have meant additional annual revenue for the […]

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