ASNE joins amicus brief arguing against mandatory 'staying' of order
ASNE joined 26 other media organizations and companies in a brief that argues for the immediate release of dash cam video of an officer-involved shooting in Gardena, California. We argue that First Amendment interest in transparency and accountability outweighs any interest in keeping videos or other records confidential.
The need for access to records is always imbued with time sensitivity. That's why ASNE joined 26 other media organizations and companies in a brief jointly drafted and filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the University of Virginia School of Law First Amendment Clinic. The brief argues for the immediate release of dash cam video of an officer-involved shooting in Gardena, California. In this case, the video was ordered to be released by a trial court after the victims' families and the city reached settlement of a civil lawsuit filed in the matter, but the city still asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to "stay" the release of the video. A Ninth Circuit ruling in favor of the city would, of course, mean that anyone could delay the release of embarrassing records or information for the months (if not years) it would take to exhaust all appeals.
Our brief in Mendez v. the City of Gardena argues against the mandatory "staying" of an order to unseal records and in favor of the existing four-part test, which balances the various equities involved in deciding whether to stay such an action. We further argue that First Amendment interest in transparency and accountability outweighs any interest in keeping these videos or other records confidential, which makes an automatic stay even more problematic. As the brief notes, "delay has consequences; if a controversy rages one day and the supporting evidence is not released for several years, the public is poorly served."