Archive | Peter Scheer RSS feed for this section
On Access by Peter Scheer

FAC sues LA council over destroyed public records

A new lawsuit filed by the First Amendment Coalition against Los Angeles highlights local governments’ all-too-common—and illegal—practice of destroying public records. The suit, filed Thursday in Superior Court for Los Angeles County, focuses on documents that went missing when a termed-out council member, Tom LaBonge, left office in 2015. Thousands of documents about city business—”public […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
On Access by Peter Scheer

1st Amendment fallout from Peter Thiel’s bankrolling of Hogan suit against Gawker

In an interview with Pacific Standard, I discussed the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker—or more precisely, the role of billionaire Peter Thiel, who financed the litigation even though he was not a party in the case and had no legal standing to be one. From the transcript: . . . . .  “I’m afraid that […]

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

IRS censorship of nonprofits must give way to the First Amendment

Because of legal restrictions on nonprofit, “charitable” organizations, I am not allowed to say that Donald Trump poses an existential threat to First Amendment freedoms. I believe it to be true.  But as executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, I am supposed to keep such thoughts to myself. The freedom to engage in public […]

Continue Reading

FAC teams up with New America Media and CA Black Media to assist ethnic journalists

The First Amendment Coalition has teamed up with leading associations of ethnic news media, both in California and nationally, to provide their members free legal consultations on questions about their rights as journalists. The associations are California Black Media (CBM) and New America Media (NAM). CBM is a statewide information and education network for some […]

Continue Reading

FAC sues Novato to compel release of secret emails

FAC has filed a lawsuit against Novato, CA to force the city to make public emails about a controversial sports complex proposed for the Hamilton Fields neighborhood. The suit, filed July 12 in Marin County Superior Court (court documents posted below), contends that the emails relate to a public issue of importance to the local community, and that the city has failed […]

Continue Reading
News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Moving On

BY PETER SCHEER—After twelve years as executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, I recently told our Board of Directors that I will be stepping down at the end of the year. I will stay involved with FAC in significant (albeit non-managerial) ways—starting with our search for a new executive director. FAC is in a […]

Continue Reading
News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Transparency coming to police one city at a time

BY PETER SCHEER—Kudos to San Diego DA Bonnie Dumanis for taking a first step to increase public scrutiny of police. Earlier this month, Dumanis, with the backing of the city police chief and county sheriff, released police videos (from body and vehicle cameras) of ten officer-involved shootings since 2014. She also announced a new policy: […]

Continue Reading
News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

California agencies have no business claiming copyright protection for public records

BY PETER SCHEER—When deciding how to vote on one of the hundreds of bills in the political sausage maker that is our State Legislature, lawmakers should always ask this one question: Is there a problem that this legislation seeks to fix? Given that all laws have costs—even if their magnitude is debatable or unpredictable—a law […]

Continue Reading

FAC partners with Online News Association to assist digital journalists

The First Amendment Coalition is delighted to announce a partnership with the Online News Association to provide ONA members—-digital journalists working primarily for digital media platforms—with legal help on First Amendment and other media law matters through FAC’s Legal Hotline service. The Legal Hotline is a legal consultation service available on FAC’s website. Users submit […]

Continue Reading
News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Facebook, under attack for choosing “trending” stories, should embrace the 1st Amendment

PETER SCHEER—Facebook wants you, me and the federal government to believe that the selection and prominence of content on Facebook, particularly in its “trending stories” feature, has nothing to do with human judgment or choice. This has long been Facebook’s public posture, and it was its initial knee-jerk response this week to a news story, […]

Continue Reading