Coalition News

Statement on Judge’s Ruling in Public Access Case Against Kern County Superior Court

On Monday, June 29, the FAC and the American Civil Liberties Foundations of Southern and Northern California asked a federal judge to order officials in Kern County to immediately enforce the public’s First Amendment right of access to hearings and trials. The request for a temporary restraining order came as part of a federal civil rights lawsuit the groups filed after documenting more than a dozen instances of members of the public being denied access

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FAC, ACLU Sue for Public Access to Kern County Superior Court

BAKERSFIELD — A cornerstone of our democracy is that court hearings and trials are not held in secret. But that’s what happening in Kern County Superior Court where proceedings — including jury trials — are being held out of public view.  In-person access was originally cut off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but courts across the nation, including many in California, have provided video or audio feeds of court proceedings. In most cases in Kern

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FAC to California Judiciary: End Court Secrecy Now

The First Amendment Coalition today called on California judicial leaders to put a stop to widespread court secrecy that has occurred throughout the coronavirus pandemic and ensure the public and press have access to hearings and trials as required under the First Amendment and California law. In a letter to the California Judicial Council, the rule-making body of the state’s court system, FAC and its partners cite numerous examples of secret proceedings that have taken place since

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FAC Joins Nationwide Coalition Condemning Police Attacks on Journalists

The First Amendment Coalition signed a letter, along with 115 news and press freedom organizations, submitted today to Minnesota officials by the Reporters Committee to Freedom of the Press, condemning police use of force against journalists covering the protests and civil unrest in response to the police killing of George Floyd.  The letter emphasizes that law enforcement does not have legal immunity when officers violate clearly established rights under the First Amendment. And while the

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California Supreme Court Stops Cities From Charging Steep Fees for Video Redactions

The California Supreme Court today issued an opinion preventing government agencies from charging the public for editing and compiling police body camera footage and other electronic records before the records are released. The First Amendment Coalition and the California News Publishers Association filed an amicus brief in the case, National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward. We urged the court to find that agencies cannot require members of the public to pay for redaction costs regardless

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