Judge dismisses contempt allegation against television station KCOY

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Judge dismisses contempt allegation against television station KCOY By Quintin Cushner/Senior Staff Writer Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville has dismissed another judge’s ruling that suggested television station KCOY was in contempt for filming jurors on the Bruce Sons case. Judge Zel Canter last month ordered KCOY, the local CBS affiliate, to show why it should not be found in contempt, fined up to $1,000 and ordered to destroy the footage. Melville tossed Canter’s order Monday, and also canceled a June 27 court hearing. “It was dismissed,” said Darrel Parker, supervising court administrator in Santa Maria, of the contempt finding. “The court received a letter of apology from KCOY. They said they had no intention of violating any order.” A KCOY cameraman filmed the jurors when they were excused from service May 9, after they found Sons guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the slaying of a California Highway Patrol officer. Canter ruled the recording violated a court order. Guylyn R. Cummins, attorney for KCOY’s parent company, Clear Channel Broadcasting, Inc., argued in court documents that the contempt order should be dismissed. “The First Amendment and California law prohibit the Superior Court from directly restricting defendants newsgathering rights, including photographing jurors, outside of a public courthouse,” Cummins wrote. Monday, Cummins again said KCOY was within its constitutional rights. “It’s still our opinion there was no violation of law,” Cummins said. “But we felt bad we violated the spirit of Judge Canter’s orders.” Canter did not return a call seeking comment. June 6, 2006 Source: Santa Maria Times

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