Thursday, January 31, 2008

Publisher's Folly, The Sequel

My first post, Publisher's Folly, was about the Daily Sound publisher Jeramy Gordon's borderline absurd claim that his newspaper should enjoy an absolute right of privacy with respect to its unpublished photos. Well, Gordon's claim fell flat on it's face in court, and now a publisher with a little more juice, that of the Independent, is likely to fall harder and flatter by taking the same basic claim all the way to the California Supreme Court. After spending $8,000, Mr. Gordon apparently had "suffered" enough rather inexpensive, per column inch, publicity grandstanding as a self-anointed hero of the First Amendment. He's been rather quiet... until today, that is. Today Mr. Gordon was quoted in a News Press article where he resumed his public rant against Deputy Public Defender Karen Atkins with even more acrimony than before. It's interesting that he bears so much hostility for a woman he doesn't know. And it's not just the person that he doesn't know, he hasn't a clue what a criminal defense attorney's role is. Either way, he is dead wrong that Ms. Atkins is motivated by a desire to soak him dry of money. She didn't get any of that $8,000. That money was paid to another lawyer. And now that same lawyer is billing undoubtedly more than $8,000 to take the same implausible claim all the way to the State Supreme Court. Ms. Atkins is a public employee on a salary she is paid to serve her young client, Ricardo Juarez, 15, and many others. She doesn't get paid per client and she doesn't even get a bonus if she gets Ricardo acquitted of the charge of murder. Her only motive is to help her client; not to get into a small-minded legal squabble with local newspapers. That is the last thing she wants to do. Her office has a limited budget with which to counteract the comparatively limitless funds the District Attorney has available to wage a homicide prosecution. And I can assure you that she would have prefered it if Mr. Gordon had spent no money at all waging his quixotic war on her client's right to a fair trial.

What is it with these local newspaper publishers anyway? They do seem to fuel up the Santa Barbara bloggers with plenty of material...And, the lawyers are staying busy too. As a Santa Barbara Lawyer Blogger, I really appreciate you.

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