Coalition News

FAC Writes in Support of Reporter Disparaged By Elected Official Following Public Records Request

The First Amendment Coalition and the Institute for Media and Public Trust of Fresno State today called on a California public official to apologize for insulting a reporter and to take seriously his obligations under open-government laws. The letter to Tom Wheeler, a member of the Madera County Board of Supervisors, comes after Wheeler responded to a reporter’s public records request with, “To hell with her” followed by an insult. Wheeler’s email, documented in an

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FAC Urges California Supreme Court to Require Transparency in Clemency Proceedings

The First Amendment Coalition today asked the California Supreme Court to require more transparency in an important area of the criminal justice system: the justices’ oversight of executive clemency.  In California, the governor must seek approval from the state Supreme Court to pardon or commute the sentences of one category of applicants, those twice convicted of felonies. But that process is often shrouded in secrecy, with the governor’s office routinely filing clemency-related court records under

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Kern County Superior Court Agrees to Ensure Public Access During Pandemic

Agreement Comes After Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit by the First Amendment Coalition, ACLU BAKERSFIELD — The Kern County Superior Court has agreed, in the settlement of a lawsuit, to provide in-person access to court proceedings that had been cut off during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also agreed to provide remote audio access to proceedings. The court had banned public access to the point where many of its proceedings were conducted nearly in secret. But other

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Live Event: Erwin Chemerinsky on the First Amendment and the Capitol Riot

UC Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky on the First Amendment and the Capitol Riot — A Conversation About Trump, Twitter and the Limits of Free Speech The Capitol riot and its aftermath raise a host of questions about the First Amendment and free expression. Was Trump’s speech protected? When does political protest cross the line into unlawful behavior? Meanwhile, publishers and social-media platforms have taken unprecedented steps to silence speakers, including Trump. What are the

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FAC Pays Tribute to Late Journalist Tim Crews

Tim Crews, a longtime California newspaperman in rural Glenn County who, amid one of many public battles, noted his abundance of “good friends and quality enemies,” died in November at age 77. The small-town journalist described by Poynter as the “everything” of the Sacramento Valley Mirror — a founder, publisher, editor and owner who reported, took photos, sold ads and even delivered copies — had an outsized impact on the community he covered, crusading against government

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