Police Seize Unpublished Photos in Raid on Student Newspaper

Richmond Times Dispatch:
Police raid offices of JMU’s paper, seize 900 photos

By MARK BOWES
Published: April 17, 2010

Up to a dozen police officers led by Rockingham County’s commonwealth’s attorney raided the offices of James Madison University’s student-run newspaper yesterday and seized more than 900 photos taken of last weekend’s off-campus, violence-marred party. Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha L. Garst, armed with a search warrant and accompanied by the officers, showed up unannounced about 10:30 a.m., said Katie Thisdell, editor-in-chief of The Breeze.
Thisdell said she complied after consulting with the newspaper’s general manager, a university employee, and allowed police to download the images onto DVDs.
Thisdell said The Breeze has accepted an offer to be legally represented by the Student Press Law Center in Arlington County, a nonprofit organization that defends student journalists’ First Amendment rights.
Attorney Frank D. LoMonte, the center’s executive director, said in a prepared statement that the search likely violated the federal Privacy Protection Act, which makes it unlawful to search newsrooms for unpublished newsgathering materials.
“To intimidate student journalists with a massive show of force and with no time to consult with legal counsel is grossly improper,” LoMonte said.

READ MORE at timesdispatch.com

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