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HEATHER MAC DONALD: Tenuous accusations of sexual harassment against a portrait artist suggest that #MeToo has become a war on men.

Chuck Close is a darling of the contemporary art world; his massive, photography-based portraits have exhibited at virtually all major contemporary art venues. In 2005, he met a painter, Delia Brown, at a chic Hamptons dinner party. He said that he liked her work and asked her to pose for a photo in his studio. Brown immediately conveyed the invitation to one of her patrons, who was also a guest at the Hamptons party, as a sign of her election to the modern art-market firmament. When she phoned Close the next day to arrange the visit, he said that he wanted her to pose topless. This was hardly a novel proposal: Close’s photographs of male and female nudes are a known part of his output. Brown was insulted, however. She told Close over the phone that she needed to think about it. She then decided against the invitation. “I came to the conclusion that I was not being photographed as an artist but as a woman,” she told the New York Times. “You shouldn’t expect just because you go into an artist’s studio that you will be compromised. You should be allowed to have that experience, just like male artists who have that experience.”

Brown was not insulted enough, however, to forego trying to arrange a visit to his studio anyway. When she called a few weeks later to schedule such a visit, Close acted like he did not know her, she said.

Close had sexually harassed Brown, according to the New York Times and the Huffington Post.

Read the whole thing.

My first (and last) corporate sexual harassment seminar was 25 years ago, and even back then a man’s “guilt” was based on the non-objective standard of whether the “victim” felt as though she’d been harassed. The War on Men predates #MeToo by a long time.

TRUTH IS THE FIRST CASUALTY IN THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY:

A police officer who arrested a New York Times freelance photographer last August was indicted on charges he falsified records about the incident, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Officer Michael Ackermann, 30, who works out of the 44th Precinct, wrote in his report that shooter Robert Stolarik obstructed government administration when he repeatedly fired his flash in the officer’s face while he was making an unrelated arrest, according to the DA’s office.

Witnesses told investigators there was no flash attached to Stolarik’s camera, prosecutors said, adding that investigators also analyzed the photos taken during the arrest and determined no flash was used.

Stolarik, who has worked for The Times for more than a decade, was photographing the arrest of a teenage girl at McClellan Street and Sheridan Avenue about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 4, The Times reported on Aug. 5, 2012.

An officer reportedly ordered Stolarik to stop taking photographs of the arrest. He then identified himself as a Times photographer and continued shooting, according to the story.

A second officer then appeared, grabbed his camera and “slammed” it into his face, The Times reported.

Stolarik was then reportedly dragged to the ground and arrested.

Of course, he’d have the same rights if he were just an ordinary citizen, and not a Times employee.

WAR ON PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: California Man Jailed Four Days for Recording Cops. But wait, it gets worse:

A California man was jailed for four days for attempting to record police officers on a public street.

Daniel J. Saulmon was charged with resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer but the video shows he was standing well out the way of a traffic stop and was only arrested when he failed to produce identification to an approaching officer.

And there is no law in California that requires citizens to produce identification. And even if there was, it would require the officer to have a reasonable suspicion that he was committing a crime.

But prosecutors have already dropped the charge against Saulmon as well as a few other minor citations relating to his bicycle such as not have proper reflectors on the pedals.

And they most likely knew who he was considering he won a $25,000 settlement from the same police department after they unlawfully arrested him on eavesdropping/wiretapping charges in 2005.

This time, it appears the Hawthorne Police Department will be dishing out much more, thanks to officer Gabriel Lira’s abuse of authority.

Of course, this means that taxpayers will be coughing up to cover Lira’s abuses, and the mis- or malfeasance of his superiors. He should be criminally charged for this arrest, and his supervisors should be sacked.

Meanwhile, check out Morgan Manning’s article on photographers’ rights, as well as A Due Process Right To Record The Police, which I coauthored with John Steakley.

I should note, BTW, that the latter article has been selected by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for its “Getting Scholarship Into Court Project,” which is designed to inform lawyers and judges of particularly timely and useful topics. Happy to have been included! Though if my work turns out to be useful to actual lawyers and courts, I may wind up being drummed out of the Constitutional Law Scholars’ Guild. . . .

WAR ON PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: D.C. Police Officially Declare Photography Is Not a Crime.

Last week, two years after Washington, D.C., cops told Jerome Vorus to stop taking pictures of a traffic stop in Georgetown and to stop recording his encounter with them, the Metropolitan Police Department issued a general order against such illegal interference with citizens’ exercise of their First Amendment rights. The order (PDF), part of an agreement settling a federal lawsuit Vorus filed last year with help from the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital, “recognizes that members of the general public have a First Amendment right to video record, photograph, and/or audio record MPD members while MPD members are conducting official business or while acting in an official capacity in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity.” That was not the position taken by the cops who detained Vorus in July 2010, four of whom incorrectly informed him that he was breaking the law by photographing and recording police without permission from the department’s public affairs office. To the contrary, Police Chief Cathy Lanier says in the new directive, “A bystander has the same right to take photographs or make recordings as a member of the media, as long as the bystander has a legal right to be present where he or she is located.”

That right applies in “public settings” such as “parks, sidewalks, streets, and locations of public protests” as well as “an individual’s home or business, common areas of public and private facilities and buildings, and any other public or private facility at which the individual has a legal right to be present.” If someone is legally taking pictures or making a recording, an officer may not “order that person to cease such activity,” “demand that person’s identification,” “demand that the person state a reason why he or she is taking photographs or recording,” “detain that person,” “intentionally block or obstruct cameras or recording devices,” or “”in any way threaten, intimidate or otherwise discourage an individual from recording [officers’] enforcement activities.” Furthermore, “a person has the right to express criticism of the police activity being observed…so long as that expression does not jeopardize the safety of any member, suspect or bystander…and so long as that expression does not violate the law or incite others to violate the law.”

It’s sad that it takes a lawsuit to get these basic truths recognized, but this is still progress.

WAR ON PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Cop Took Cell Phone Used to Film Him, Lawsuit Alleges Retaliation.

The war on cameras continues in Point Marion, Pennsylvania, with a federal lawsuit filed by a man whose cell phone police confiscated. Gregory Rizer says he was at a friend’s house, filming a police officer he felt was being aggressive in his questioning of his quadriplegic friend about the whereabouts of her cousin.

The police officer, Kevin Lukart, confiscated the cellphone and Rizer was eventually charged under the state’s wiretap law, a common prosecutorial tactic against those who film police officers in states with two-party consent or other wiretapping laws. The charges were dropped by the state attorney in February (the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in 1989 and again in 2005 that police officers don ‘t have an expectation of privacy under the wiretapping law) and Rizer says in his lawsuit the memory card was missing (surprise!) when his cell phone was returned to him.

So it’s theft as well as abuse of power?

UPDATE: I suppose I should take this opportunity to once again plug Morgan Manning’s excellent piece on photographers’ rights, as well as my own piece (coauthored with John Steakley) on a due-process right to record the police.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: Reno Newspaper Photographer, 60, Assaulted by Deputies While Covering Fire.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Cops Would Be Liable Arresting Citizens For Recording Under Approved Conn. Bill. “The Connecticut state senate approved a bill Thursday that would allow citizens to sue police officers who arrest them for recording in public, apparently the first of its kind in the nation. . . . According to the Hartford Courant, the bill was inspired by the 2009 incident in which a priest was arrested for video recording cops inside a store shaking down immigrants, which led to a Department of Justice investigation and the arrest of four officers.”

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Man Wins $1.4 Million Settlement From Boston Police In Video Recording Incident.

A man who was tackled by a cop and placed in a chokehold while video recording a traffic investigation won a $1.4 million settlement this week.

Michael O’Brian said the 2009 incident left him brain-damaged and unable to return to work as a corrections officer for the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.

The Boston police officer who tackled him, David Williams, was fired in January. . . .

In November 2011, Maury Povino filed a lawsuit against the Boston Police Department after they arrested him for video recording them.

Paulino was charged with felony wiretapping along with assault and battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in the 2009 incident.

The wiretapping charge was quickly dropped and he beat the other charges in court.

At this stage, even filing the wiretapping charges should be grounds for additional discipline. And I guess I should provide one more plug for Morgan Manning’s article on photographers’ rights. Plus, my forthcoming piece in the Washington University law Review on a due-process-based right to record the police.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: North Port man videotaped arrest, then got arrested. “Although the 57-year-old computer technician assumed he had a legal right to document the incident, Horrigan was arrested, handcuffed and taken away for a night in jail. He was charged with obstruction, but also with the rare crime of eavesdropping, a third-degree felony in Florida that carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.”

Sue ’em, and don’t settle for peanuts. And send ’em a copy of Morgan Manning’s article on photographers’ rights.

A VICTORY FOR CITIZENS IN THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: Public can record Baltimore police officers on duty, new rules say. “Baltimore police have issued new rules governing how officers deal with a public increasingly armed with cameras and video records, saying that in most instances, cops cannot stop people from filming crime scenes. The general orders, issued in November and made public Friday, come days ahead of a federal court hearing in a civil suit brought by a man who says an officer confiscated his cell phone camera and deleted images of an arrest at the Preakness Stakes in 2010.”

Somebody must have read Morgan Manning’s article on photographers’ rights.

COWARDS TRY TO SILENCE THE PUBLIC: Horn-honkers cited at Kelly Thomas protest. “Drivers honking their horns near a ‘Justice for Kelly Thomas’ protest in Fullerton on Saturday were cited by police officers on suspicion of illegally using that vehicle feature, the Fullerton Police Department has confirmed. Thomas was a 37-year-old homeless man fatally injured after a confrontation with six Fullerton police officers. The incident is still under investigation.” Think they’d be issuing tickets if it were a support-the-police protest? I don’t. Miserable putzes.

Nobody respects you guys when you act this way. You merely take a crap on your badge and uniform. And when budget cuts come up — and they will — a lot of people who might have stood up for you will decide not to bother. Just so you know.

UPDATE: A reader who requests anonymity says that I’m wrong:

The protestors for Kelly Thomas have been numerous, loud and disruptive. The protest starts at 9:00 AM and goes until 3:00 PM every Saturday now since August – and the horns and the bullhorns and the occasional vvuzelas – are sounded almost non-stop. This is done in an area of businesses. There are also homes only a less than two blocks away. People in vehicles, often the same vehicles circling back through, do not simply honk their horn, they lay on the horn for a quarter of a mile or more. It gets old really, really quickly.

I would suggest looking at the comments on the OCRegister site, such as this one:

watchman336

1:53 PM on September 11, 2011

I’ve read several posts below and as usual most are not able to stay on topic. For many, any retaliatory, illegal action is excusable. So the same thing that many are accusing these cops of, is the same way that many accusing posters have themselves been acting. It is a form of emotional insanity.

If I lived within earshot of FPD and heard CONTINUOUS horns, I would have called the PD and complained, as many residents have done. Protest if you must, but don’t ruin everyone else’s day by being inconsiderate and obnoxious.

or this one:

nueeardente

12:05 PM on September 11, 2011

The investigation is still on going. In time after the facts are ascertained people will be charged accordingly. It will go to court. It’s going to take time. Actually justice rather than the mobs perception of it, is not instant.

The FPD has bent over backwards to allow the irrational to stand out there and rant. every weekend. No justice, no peace, really? Guess someone was channeling Maxine Waters. The protests continued their merry way all day. They didn’t try to silence the bullhorn. Simply a few cars operated by morons who had no sense of respect for all the businesses and homes around the police station.

Sorry they aren’t just going to hand them over to you. Lynch mobs are so passe.

Further the guy they ought to be hounding is the DA though he doesn’t deserve it either, as hes doing his job.

The tragedy of this is the polarization that is occurring. At city hall meetings anyone who stands up and suggests that the FBI, etc., be allowed to complete their investigation is shouted down and booed by the protestors. Reminds me a great deal of the “civil discourse” in the political realm we see from too many liberals and their allies.

Okay, maybe I went off half-cocked here, against the background of so much “war against photography” stuff and misbehavior/side-taking by the police in Madison, Wisconsin. Or maybe not, but I should have allowed for the possibility. My mistake.

WAR ON PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: ACLU settles case of man cited for taping friend’s arrest.

The American Civil Liberties Union has won a $48,500 settlement of a lawsuit stemming from a Hill District man’s arrest for videotaping police, it announced today.

Elijah Matheny was arrested in April 2009 when he used his cell phone to record the arrest of a friend by University of Pittsburgh police. The police said they got Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office approval to accuse him of wiretapping. All charges against Mr. Matheny later were dropped.

The settlement ends a case that the ACLU lost in U.S. District Court and then pursued to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 3rd Circuit ruled in an unrelated case that it is legal to record officers’ work.

Of course it is.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE:

Akron police officer Donald Schismenos, an 18-year veteran, has been placed on leave with pay pending the completion of an internal investigation, city officials say. . . .

Schismenos was suspended by Mayor Don Plusquellic because he allegedly went against a superior’s orders and filed felony charges against an Akron woman who filmed him making an arrest in June 2009.

Dude, you don’t have a right to be free from public scrutiny while doing your job. I predict an unhappy outcome for officer Schismenos. Meanwhile, some remedial reading on photographers’ rights.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department policy.

Send Chief McDonnell a copy of Morgan Manning’s article on photographers’ rights.

UPDATE: Reader Steven Hupp makes the inevitable no-apparent-esthetic-value joke: “So, it’s probably been said already, but would I be detained if I took a picture of Chief Jim McDonnell?”

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Police inquiry reveals violations in arrest, beating of videographer. Ya think?

Make him read a copy of Morgan Manning’s article on photographers’ rights. In a prison cell.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Police accountability activists and their supporters celebrate court victory. “Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Banks argued that because the officers were unaware their images were transmitted to a third party and uploaded to the Web, that process took place in secrecy — a violation of a so-called wiretapping statute forbidding the secret recording or hearing of a conversation, or aiding in the transmission or hearing of that conversation.” He should be embarrassed to have his name associated with this dumb argument. Let me suggest some remedial reading.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Charges Against Emily Good Dropped. “It took less than a minute for a judge to dismiss an obstructing governmental administration charge against Good, saying there was no legal basis to move forward. Good was arrested last month while videotaping a traffic stop outside her Rochester home. She was taken into custody after Good failed to go inside her home when ordered to by Rochester police officer Mario Masic.” I wish the judge had ordered Mario Masic to take some remedial courses in the first amendment while he was at it. But at least Mario Masic’s name has been identified with this lawless action, and with this: “On Monday a judge, the district attorney’s office, Mayor Richards, and Police Chief Jim Sheppard all agreed with the decision to drop the charge against Good.”

But the police union says you should just shut up and do what officers say. Good’s suing, though. I hope she wins.

Perhaps Masic can be ordered to read Morgan Manning’s article on photographers’ rights — and pass a quiz afterward. Maybe, judging by the police union’s position, that should be extended to the entire Rochester force. . . .

A NEW DEFENSE IN THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: Spy-Like Sunglasses Shoot And Share Video. “The Ray-Ban-style shades capture an extra-wide 130-degree field of vision through a half-inch fisheye-like lens, which is masked as a grommet on the right side of the frame. A 0.2-inch high-def sensor captures images, and then a low-power one-gigahertz processor compresses the video. The footage is either saved into onboard flash memory or beamed from a 2.4-gigahertz Wi-Fi/Bluetooth radio to your smartphone. An app controls the camera remotely and acts a host through which footage streams to Facebook, YouTube or the Eyez homepage.”

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY (CONT’D): Arrest of woman taping police sparks controversy. “The Rochester Police Department is investigating the arrest of a woman who was videotaping police during a traffic stop in front of a home on Aldine Street. . . . The incident has drawn the attention of the National Press Photographers Association Inc., based in Durham, N.C.”

Read Morgan Manning’s article.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Chicago State’s Attorney Lets Bad Cops Slide, Prosecutes Citizens Who Record Them.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Miami Police Shoot Man to Death, Attempt to Steal/Destroy All Video Evidence of Shooting Man to Death. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again.

And I should also plug Morgan Manning’s law review article on photographers’ rights again, too. Can we get some federal civil rights legislation, with attorney’s fees and statutory damages?

UPDATE: Though the Reason headline says Miami, following the linked stories indicates that it’s Miami Beach.

THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: Less than Picture Perfect: the Legal Relationship between Photographers’ Rights and Law Enforcement. This article, by my former research assistant Morgan Manning, is very much worth your time if you’re interested in this topic. (Bumped.)

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY, CONT’D: “Michael Segal said he was filming the protesters for a website, manchfree.com, when a police officer took his cellphone and arrested him when he inquired about how he would get it back. Segal, 25, of Coral Springs, Fla., was charged with disorderly conduct.”

And, see, when they’ve got your cellphone they’ve got your contacts and other information, too. That’s an advantage for the cheap dedicated videocams, unless you’re using the cellphone to stream the video elsewhere for safekeeping.

THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY (CONT’D): Miami Beach Police Ordered Videographer At Gunpoint To Hand Over Phone: But video survived even after police tried to destroy phone. Reader Matthew Hennessy writes: “Dunno if this was already linked, but I’d recommend UStream.tv for videographers at live events where this might happen, as it runs on smartphones and will save copies of livestreamed videos for later viewing.”

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: ACLU welcomes MTA’s response on photography. “The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland welcomed the decision of the Maryland Transit Administration to disavow efforts of some of its transit police to prevent photographers from taking pictures of its facilities and the agency’s vow to promulgate policies emphasizing the rights of photographers.”

Related: MTA chief repudiates photographer curbs.

THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY (CONT’D): Mother of 3 Arrested for Taking Pictures of Tourist Attraction at Airport.

UPDATE: A followup. That default judgment probably won’t stick, but it’ll certainly get their attention.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Police in Weare, NH arrest man for recording traffic stop. My message to the Weare police: What are you afraid of? Do you have something to hide? If you’re innocent, you should have nothing to fear . . . .

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Atlanta Police Department Won’t Hinder Citizens Who Videotape Cops. “Faced with complaints from a citizen watchdog group, Atlanta police will stop interfering with people who videotape officers performing their duties in public, an agreement reached with the city Thursday says. The settlement, which also calls for the city to pay $40,000 in damages, requires city council approval. The agreement resolves a complaint filed by Marlon Kautz and Copwatch of East Atlanta, a group that films police activity with cell phones and hand-held cameras. The group has volunteers who go out on patrols and begin videotaping police activity when they come across it.”

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Black teen who filmed an LAUSD campus cop hitting a student faces bizarre charges and years in prison.

On Dec. 2, Jeremy Marks, a Verdugo Hills High School special education student, was offered a new plea offer by the L.A. County District Attorney: If he pled guilty to charges of obstructing an officer, resisting arrest, criminal threats and “attempted lynching,” he’d serve only 32 months in prison.

That actually was an improvement from the previous offer made to the young, black high schooler — seven years in prison.

The D.A. then handed Angela Berry-Jacoby, Mark’s lawyer, a stack of 130 documents, and the message within those thick files was clear: She says District Attorney Steve Cooley’s prosecution team plans to try to discredit Marks, and several other Verdugo Hills High School students on the witness stand, by dragging out misbehavior incidents from their school records over the years.

Marks, 18, has been sitting in Peter Pitchess Detention Center, a tough adult jail, since May 10. Bail was set at $155,000, which his working-class parents can’t pay to free their son for Christmas. His mother is a part-time clerk at a city swimming pool, his father is a lab tech.

The first thing to understand is that Jeremy Marks touched no one during his “attempted lynching” of LAUSD campus police officer Erin Robles.

The second is that Marks’ weapon was the camera in his cell phone.

There’s an “attempted lynching,” all right, but . . . .

More here: The Curious Case of Jeremy Marks: Student Accused of Trying to Lynch a Campus Cop.

UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch emails: “Campus cops, like teachers, only have the nerve to make trouble for the kids they think won’t give them a bad time back.”

JON STEWART’S WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY? “Rally to Resore Sanity” pledges to “strictly prohibit filming” at National Mall. “The claim that Comedy Central can prohibit filming on federal property during an event open to the public is completely wrong.”

But it’s revealing that they’d try. It’s really the Rally To Reassert The Failed Narrative. Plus, from the comments: “We smell their fear.”

UPDATE: Charlie Martin emails: “It’s pretty clear that ‘sanity’ in this context means ‘seeing and hearing what we think is good for you.'”

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: You Can Photograph That Federal Building. “The right of photographers to stand in a public place and take pictures of federal buildings has been upheld by a legal settlement reached in New York. . . . The settlement, filed on Friday, ended a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security by Antonio Musumeci, 29, of Edgewater, N.J. He was arrested Nov. 9, 2009, as he videotaped a demonstrator in front of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street. His principal camera was confiscated but he recorded the encounter on a second camera. On two later occasions, he was also threatened with arrest.”

Full text of the settlement agreement is here.

A VICTORY IN THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: Charges dismissed against Md. man who taped traffic stop.

A Harford County Circuit Court judge Monday dismissed wiretapping charges against Anthony Graber, a motorcyclist who was jailed briefly after he taped a Maryland state trooper who stopped him for speeding on I-95. Graber used a camera mounted on his helmet, then posted the video on YouTube. . . . Judge Emory A. Pitt Jr. had to decide whether police performing their duties have an expectation of privacy in public space. Pitt ruled that police can have no such expectation in their public, on-the-job communications.

Pitt wrote: “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation. ‘Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes’ (“Who watches the watchmen?”).”

Indeed. This is obviously correct, and it is an utter disgrace that Harford County state’s attorney Joseph I. Cassilly brought charges anyway.

UPDATE: Or maybe not. Reader Carl Dahlman writes:

In a TV interview last summer, Cassilly said that he believes that the police have no right to privacy when stopping people on the highway. He stated that he brought the suit in order to get legal clarification of the basic issue. If he lost, he’d be happy; if he won, the State legislature would have to act.

Seems to me Cassilly got the matter settled without needing statutory remedy. Bully for him. Maybe you should not be so hard on him.

Also, kudos to the State AG who issued an opinion last summer that troopers have no right to privacy on the highway. I’m sure that influenced the judge.

Hmm.

ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, reader Steven Wells writes:

I read with some interest the comments of your reader Carl Dahlman regarding the dismissal of charges against the Maryland man who taped a traffic stop. Mr. Dahlman suggests that it is a good thing the prosecutor brought charges because this clarified matters without getting a statutory remedy. I disagree.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I think this type of prosecution is a disgrace, as you wrote in your initial post. Criminal charges endanger our most fundamental rights and liberties. For a prosecutor to file charges simply to clarify a vague statute is greatly troublesome. If a statute is vague, then prosecutors should not be filing charges at all. The defendant in this case had to hire an attorney (although I understand from some accounts he may have had pro bono counsel, this is still a real issue), have his name broadcast throughout national media, go through the process of obtaining bail (which is a restriction on liberty), and face the very real possibility of being a convicted felon. All of this when the prosecution admits that there was a distinct possibility that there was no basis for a charge?

There is no need for a statutory remedy in this circumstance. Prosecutors have a great deal of discretion in how they do their jobs and that discretion is all the ‘remedy’ this situation needs. I do not know Maryland’s ethical code, but under Rule 3.8 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, prosecutors should not prosecute a case if they know the charges are not supported by probable cause. It seems to me that if the prosecutor admits that the statute is vague, there is a very real argument that the prosector should know these charges are not supported by probable cause.

Just some food for thought.

Indeed.

THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY GOES UNDERSEA! Giant Manta Ray swipes $5k camera rig from diver, shoots some video. Or maybe the manta just wanted to join in . . . .

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY (CONT’D): Police continue to harass citizens who record them.

A PROSECUTOR ON THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: A reader who asks anonymity emails:

I’ve followed with interest your series on police misconduct in harassing or arresting bystanders who photograph or video officers on duty. We had a similar case this month – we dismissed the charge immediately and began an internal review of all the officer’s pending cases. His boss (the County Sheriff) brought the matter immediately to our attention and launched an IA investigation as well.

Just wanted you to know that not all prosecutors are idiots … :-)

Some additional inside baseball: nearly all of our officers and their chiefs strongly support audio and visual recording of officers while on duty. Most jurisdictions here have voice-activated microphones and video cameras mounted in their patrol cars and remote microphones clipped to their officers’ collars. Many of these devices automatically download video and audio feeds directly to remote servers to prevent tampering with the raw footage. But the cameras cannot capture everything that happens around an officer and the microphones have a limited range, so bystanders’ portable video can be a potent source of evidence documenting that an officer acted properly – which they do in the vast majority of instances.

Yes, as I’ve noted before, officers who are behaving properly should welcome this sort of thing. And it’s worth noting that when officers and prosecutors act properly, it usually doesn’t make the news.

MORE ON THAT SALISBURY, NORTH CAROLINA WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY CASE, from the Washington Examiner.

But to arrest someone who is unmistakably on their own property, and doing nothing remotely illegal, is an abuse of power pure and simple. Even if it were true that Gibson was endangering herself by witnessing the traffic stop from the confines of her front porch, how could that possibly be construed as “resisting arrest” or “obstructing the police” without eviscerating everything that the concept of private property (not to mention plain old individual rights) stands for? Taking such a risk is not illegal. Doing it while occupying one’s homestead should be recognized as unassailably within one’s rights.

Since it appears that neither the police nor the district attorney’s office can be shamed into refraining from such power abuses, perhaps it will take a fat lawsuit for violations of Gibson’s (et al.) constitutional rights to get their attention.

Indeed.

MORE ON the war against photography. “If the police are doing their jobs properly, they should have nothing to worry about.”

“STEP AWAY FROM THE CAMERA!” More on the war against photography.

IF YOU MISSED IT YESTERDAY, check out my Popular Mechanics column on the War Against Photography.

MY POPULAR MECHANICS COLUMN THIS MONTH is on the War Against Photography.

Too many officials think taking photos is a crime. Here’s why they’re wrong. . . . Today, most people walk around with a camera of some sort in their possession. Point-and-shoots, DSLRs and tiny video cams–not to mention cellphones–have become ubiquitous. And yet it seems that in many public locations, security officials are touchier than ever about letting people actually use those cameras. Our guardians of public safety often have the idea that shooting pictures in public places might be a precursor to some sort of terrorism. It’s an understandable concern, but misguided. I believe there is a good case to be made that having lots of cameras in the hands of citizens makes us more, rather than less, safe.

Need I say, read the whole thing?

UPDATE: Reader Lance Christensen emails: “First they came for our guns, but the liberals said nothing, because they don’t have any guns. Then they came for our cameras…”

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY — AND ACCOUNTABILITY — CONT’D: Growing Number of Prosecutions for Videotaping the Police. “So then the question is, ‘Are the words of a police officer spoken on duty, in uniform, in public a ‘private conversation.’ And every court that has ever considered that question has said that they are not.” Police have no expectation of privacy. They certainly don’t recognize any such in the rest of us. And prosecutors who bring such charges should lose their jobs, and maybe their law licenses. Law enforcement officials who are afraid of public accountability do not deserve their offices, or our respect or deference. Act like a thug, expect to be thought of as a thug.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY (CONT’D)? We were permanently banned from the Miami-Dade Metrorail for taking photos.

A VICTORY IN THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY:

Harrisonburg’s top prosecutor and James Madison University’s student newspaper have reached a settlement under which the state will pay $10,000 in legal fees that the paper accumulated while arguing against the seizure of staff photographs documenting a riot. . . . The Washington-based attorney for The Breeze said the most important piece of the settlement between the student newspaper and Garst was her admission that a seizure of photos wasn’t the right way to go.

“I admire the commonwealth’s attorney for her willingness to stand up and say so,” said attorney Seth Berlin.

Better late than never on that realization, I guess.

THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: Radley Balko has more on Maryland. “Graber is due in court next week. He faces up to five years in prison. State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly has also charged Graber with ‘Possession of an Interception Device.’ That ‘device’ would be Graber’s otherwise-perfectly-legal video camera. . . . Perhaps that officer was merely misinformed. But Maryland police spokesmen and prosecutors are giving the impression that the state’s wiretapping law is ambiguous about recording on-duty police officers. It really isn’t. They’ve just chosen to interpret it that way, logic and common sense be damned. . . . A cynic might conclude that law enforcement officials in Maryland are reacting to the McKenna embarrassment by threatening and cracking down on anyone who videotapes on-duty cops, and they’ll interpret the law in whatever way allows them to do so. At least until a court tells them otherwise.”

This is a disgrace. State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly should hear from Marylanders who care about freedom — and this seems to be me to be another argument for federal civil rights legislation guaranteeing the right to photograph police. With hefty damages, and a waiver of official immunity, for cases like Graber’s. . . .

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: “It’s part of living in a free society.”

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Photographers and Police: A First Amendment Clash.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY (CONT’D): Photographer arrested at mall after taking holiday photos. Judging from this report, he should sue the Town Center Mall in Charleston, whose behavior was obviously unreasonable, and he should seek discipline regarding officer R.C. Basford. Perhaps he settle for a written apology, and a promise to train personnel to respect photographers’ rights.

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY, CONT’D: Photographer beaten, detained in London for being “cocky” to policeman who implies she is a terrorist. Tar. Feathers.

SOME TEA PARTY PHOTOS from Fresno. “Fresno had over 7.500 attend the most polite protest I have ever witnessed.” Plus, “Black People Against Obama,” and “Mixed People Against Obama.” Hey, that’s not part of the narrative!

UPDATE: Reader Larry Price sends this picture of the “angry old white men” standing in front of him at the Atlanta Tea Party.

teapartyatlantaoldmen0415

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another one of those angry white guys, in Virginia Beach.

MORE: Lefty reader Nicholas Klemen writes: ‘You found photos of 6 black people at tea parties! Thats proof that there isn’t any racism going on at the protests. Take that Dems! Keep up the good work.” Well, there wasn’t any sign of racism at the Tea Party I attended, nor have I seen any reports from anywhere else. All I’ve seen are bogus claims of racism from apparatchik lefties who are — as Bob McManus predicted a month ago — hitting this note for lack of anything else to say, and because it’s their tired response to anything threatening.

That’s not the moral high ground you’re standing on, Nicholas. It’s just a big ol’ pile of crap.

Are the Tea Parties as heavily white as a Code Pink protest or a Howard Dean meetup? Maybe, I dunno. (And didn’t Dean call for white guys with Confederate flags to join the Democrats?) But the “Tea Partiers are racist” argument is typical sloppy sloganeering and deserves even less respect than I’m giving it here.

FINALLY: Some thoughts from Justin Katz. And be sure to check out these photos, too.

THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY, CONTINUED: “I am more than baffled by the current wave of anxiety about adults taking pictures of children in public spaces. . . . The assumption that pictures represent a significant threat to children has acquired a fantasy-like grotesque character. We rarely dare ask the question: what possible harm can come from taking pictures of children playing soccer? Dark hints about the threat of evil networks of pedophiles are sufficient to corrode common sense. Tragically, what the dramatization and criminalization of the act of photographing children reveals is a culture that regards virtually every childhood experience from the standpoint of a pedophile.”

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOLLOWUP: Reader Ted Armstrong emails:

As digital camera central, you have not addressed those of us with hundreds of slides that would like to convert them to digital. Any services you can recommend?

No, and as one of those people myself (make it thousands, not hundreds) I’d like to know. There are slide and negative scanners that can do that, but I haven’t used one and don’t know anyone who owns one. I’m sure that there are services (here’s one that I found via google, but I don’t have any experience with them) but I can’t attest to the results. If anyone knows, let me know.

Meanwhile, reader (and frequent source of photo links) Jim Herd emails that the Nikon Coolpix 8800 has gotten an in-depth review at DPreview.com (the real digital-photography central). Much as I love my Nikon D70 SLR, there’s a lot to be said for these all-in-one cameras. They’ve got limitations, but for the size and price they’re ferociously capable, really.

Finally, my earlier post on printers led some people to ask about smaller and cheaper printers for cranking out snapshots. I gave my brother — who has a new baby and needs it — this little HP for Christmas. Unfortunately, he just moved into a new house and I don’t think he’s even unpacked it yet, so there’s no report from him yet. But it got a good writeup in Consumer Reports and it looks good: reads cards directly, has a small built-in LCD screen, doesn’t take up too much room.

UPDATE: Reader Mark Bridger emails with this link to some scanner reviews and reports:

I use an older Canon FS2720U and am in the process of scanning a couple hundred old slides I found when cleaning out my Dad’s house after he died. Most of them are 50+ years old. There are two problems scanning slides: Dust, and dust. Can’t get rid of all of it. The better scanners have hardware and software (Digital ICE or FARE) that greatly reduce it. Polaroid has a free plug-in for Photoshop that does a great job as well.

The consensus seems to be don’t use flatbeds for 35mm slides or negatives, but the do work pretty well for medium format or large format transparencies.

Scanning the slides is slow, and fairly tedious, but I’m having a great time seeing my older sister and brother as babies, my grandparents young and healthy, and my parents so young. I ultimately intend to create a book at mypublisher.com and send copies to my siblings and my aunts.

That’s cool.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Wow, this generated a lot of email. Whenever I think that I’m being self-indulgent by blogging on digital photography, the massive amount of email that posts like this generate serves as a reminder that plenty of people care about it.

Professional photographer Rick Lee emails:

I was reading your post on the chore of slide scanning. I was also thinking about this the other day when Lileks was talking about the huge chore of scanning a bunch of material out of books.

The best scanner you’ll ever own is in your camera bag. How do you like the idea of completing a scan in 1/30th of a second?

To “scan” flat material such as photos… Just get a copy stand.. Such as:
Link

To “scan” slides, get some sort of slide-duping device….Link

This works really well. I’ve even shot negatives before… In Photoshop I just reverse the image and hit “Auto-balance” and voile… A pretty darn good image. The other day I shot a page out of a book and ran the JPG through character-recognition software and it worked perfectly…. Turned the jpg into a Word doc.

That’s pretty cool. Photographer-reader Jim Hogue emails:

I’ve been scanning slides since Christmas into my Christmas present the Pacific Image 1800 AFL slide and negative scanner. It was, literally, a surprise gift from my not-so-tech oriented wife who’d got it on sale at Fry’s Electronic.

It uses Adobe Photoshop elements 2.0 with a Pacific Image import software utility.

I’m impressed with the scanner and the job Adobe PS Elements does in enhancing 45+ years-old slides. The auto color correction and auto level corrections are very good. I’m certainly no expert but the pictures look better to me now after that green age tint is removed.

I have my father’s family slides he began taking in 1957 and my own family slides I started taking in 1979 and so far the results have been very gratifying. have a total of almost 6,000 slides.

The downside it the scanner is it manpower intensive. Only one slide at a time and it can be a bit tedious. With practice, I’m now scanning and enhancing 40-45 slides in a little over one hour, to be fair, I find myself reminiscing over slides of my sons or my parents, so that time might be a little on the high side. Personally, I’ve set a goal of 40 – 80 slides a day to avoid burnout.

Also, the saved images are 12.5 Megs apiece and that might bump up against memory on lower end computers.

Yeah, that’s a bit labor-intensive if you’ve got a lot of slides. Reader Harvey Schneider writes:

Please see the attached links. One is for Microtek scanners, the other is an adapter that hooks to a Microtek flatbed scanner to scan slides. Mine works great. Full disclosure, I worked for Microtek in the late 90’s, which is how I obtained the scanner and the adapter. They scanners sold well, the 35 MM adapters not so well. Good product, limited market. I have visited Microtek’s factory in hsinchu science park, in Taiwan on several occasions. It is a world class facility. They do OEM for H-P and other major brands.

Link 1
Link 2

Reader James Martin sends this link to an info-rich page on scanning and sends this link to a discusison of bulk scanning of slides. Jonathan Gewirtz of ChicagoBoyz, who’s a superb photographer emails:

I’ve successfully scanned thousands of slides and negatives using an obsolete HP S20 film scanner (1998-ish technology). My scans are more than adequate for Web use and printing to 8×10. Newer scanners are more capable and typically include dust-correction software that works with most color films (though not with B&W negatives, and perhaps not always with Kodachromes).

The good news is that there is some art to scanning, and one can learn how to produce good scans using even less-than-best equipment. The bad news is that scanning is a time-consuming nuisance that is difficult to automate (though I think Nikon offers a film-roll feeder). I don’t know enough to recommend a modern scanner, but they must all be better than mine so I doubt that you can go far wrong. Minolta and Nikon are frequently recommended in online photography discussions.

Some of my best photo experiences were associated with scanning long-forgotten slides of family events. Kodachromes are durable, but IMO it’s prudent to scan other types of slides ASAP, before major deterioration sets in. You can always touch up the dust marks later.

I guess I’d better get to it. Meanwhile, reader Scott Gonyea sends this:

I am a former retail sales associate for Epson. I’ll divide my e-mail into two sections: printing and scanning.

I’ll accept that you want to do photo printing, despite the outstanding costs associated with it. You’re basically looking at either Epson or Canon to do your consumer printing. Two types of ink exist in the consumer printing world: dye and pigment, or solid. Dye ink is a liquid that strikes a coating on the paper and gets absorbed below it. The alcohol inside the ink dries the liquid and bonds it with the coating to form light and gas resistance.

The problem with dye ink is that it is water based, so if you leave your print in a humid climate then it will eventually lose its vibrance. Dye inks are easy and cheap, which makes them popular in a competitive, consumer market. But they’re not long lasting or resilient. Epson R2/300 and the Canon i9900 are both dye based.

Pigmented inks, such as the Epson R800, PictureMate, and 2200 are much more resistant to physical disturbances. The reason is because you have tiny particles (think: microscopic laser toner) that form a bond within the fibers of paper. They don’t bond to everything, but when they do they are not coming off unless you break down the paper itself.

Now, were you to make a decision this very moment between the i9900 and the Epson 2200, I would suggest the 2200. The pigmented inks a large advantage.
The paper optimized black inks have a significant improvement on output quality, as does the gray scale cartridge. But what makes the 2200 so great is that it has 3 paper paths: you can do panoramas (13×44) and also do a straight feed of foam board through the back. The 2200 has more bang for your buck.

The other advantage that Epson has is that professional papers are manufactured with Epson printers in mind first. Not only does Epson make great quality paper, but Ilford specifically designs their paper around the Epson print engine.

As for scanners, they depend on your price range. If you have the money, I suggest the Canon CanoScan 9950, because you can scan 32 film negatives at a time. It also has lots of built-in hardware features such as restoration, Digital ICE (bend and scratch repair), and a Matrix CCD. If $400 is out of your price range, the Epson 2580 is also a very good buy at $150, namely for its auto-feed film scanner. Word is that it has difficulty with black and white 35mm, but I can’t personally confirm this.

The scanner is a great investment, and the CanoScan is nothing but wonderful. Photo printers are a bad investment; if you want to share photos then get an Epson PictureMate. It’s guaranteed $.29 per photo and is pigment based. You can mail vacation photos to your nephew and know they’ll hold up. For your larger printing, go to a place like Costco. They have exceptional printing facilities at dirt cheap rates. The quality is professional and nowhere near the cost of doing it yourself. You just lose a little flexibility. But for that, have it done over the internet.

And that’s probably enough on this subject for now!

WOULD ANSEL ADAMS HAVE GONE DIGITAL? Interesting question, which sets off an interesting discussion on Slashdot.

I’m skeptical, myself. I’m very enthusiastic about digital cameras, and they’re especially great for the web, but film is still a lot better in terms of quality. In fact, I was recently looking at these pictures by photographer Naomi Harris, and I noticed that pictures taken with film look better, even on the web. Harris is a purist — she uses medium-format film, and no photoshop — but even on the web the colors and detail in these pictures are striking. (She told me that a number of magazine people she works with think that scans from film look better than native digital images in the same resolution, though they’re not sure why, exactly).

Back when I was a photographer (and, briefly, a professional one) we told ourselves that 35mm film was as good as medium- and large-format in most applications. I believed it until I did some large-format work. When you see the kind of detail in an 8×10 contact print — or even an 8×10 print from a 4×5 negative — you realize how untrue that is. Now we’re telling ourselves that the newer breed of high quality digital SLR cameras produces pictures that are as good as 35mm. I don’t think that’s true, either, and I’m sure that the quality can’t touch medium-format film. (Nonetheless, I have my eye on this one).

That’s not a knock against digital, which has its place — and an expanding one. But I think that film is a long way from being obsolete in applications where quality matters, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it gain the kind of appreciation that vintage analog gear has gotten in the sound-engineering world. I suspect that Ansel Adams, who enjoyed experimenting with Polaroid, would have enjoyed experimenting with digital cameras. But I don’t think he would have given up on film.

On the other hand, gigapixel digital images just might do the trick. . . .

UPDATE: By the way, if you didn’t check it out when I linked it earlier, the Smoky Mountain Journal is a pretty cool digital photoblog that, er, focuses on the Smoky Mountains.

ANOTHER UPDATE: PhotoDude Reid Stott weighs in in defense of digital imaging. As for Ansel, we get mixed reports. Reader Doug Plager emails:

There are few things in life I claim to be an expert, but…I believe I can confidently answer the question of Ansel Adams’opinion of the digital photography revolution. I quote from his introduction of volume two “The Negative” from his “The New Ansel Adams Photography Series” 1981, wherein he states “I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.”

Proof that Adams would have devoted much time and attention to creating images via digital media. Back when it mattered, I claimed that when pixel density approached grain density in conventional film the debate would end. In retropspect I was being very pessimistic. With present day edge detection alogrithms pixel density need not be anywhere close to grain density to produce equal image quality.

To quote the great, if self-effacing, photojournalist Gerry Winogrand “light on a surface, that’s all it is, light on a surface.” With elegant simplicity, Winogrand puts these technical debates in their proper perspective.

On the other hand, reader G. Hogan emails:

Not a chance. I attended one if his lectures/presentations, during the Q&A he was asked what kind of camera he preferred, the answer: “Any thing that will create a negative.” His work was done more in the darkroom than in the camera. His picture of Mt. McKinley was the result of three days of waiting for the clouds to clear and then he exposed one negative in an 8X10 camera and went home to create the photograph in the darkroom. The reproductions of his prints look good until you see the actual prints. The man was a true artist.

His description of the “Moonrise, Hernandez” picture taking was most memorable: “We were driving along when I saw the scene, stopped the car and mounted the camera on top of the car. I had forgotten my light meter but I knew that the moon was F8 and 125th. The print required a lot of dodging in order to bring out the town in the foreground.”

This is from nearly thirty years ago, but I still remember his words.

I’ve seen quite a few genuine Adams prints, and I agree that they’re a whole different experience from even the best reproductions. The one thing I feel pretty confident about is that Adams, if he did digital, would use Photoshop. . . .

Finally, reader Louis Rossetto points to photographer Stephen Johnson and suggests that if Ansel Adams were around today, this is the kind of work he’d be doing. Could be. Here’s one other thing that’s for sure: Though I’m a huge admirer of Adams, my personal photographer-hero is Walker Evans, and he would definitely be shooting digital.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis reports that Newsweek is 80% digital.