WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Judicial Watch announced on Monday, August 4, 2014 that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a July 18, 2014 Order reversing the dismissal of a First Amendment lawsuit challenging a Los Angeles County Superior Court decision denying Emmy-Award winning producer Leslie Dutton and the Full Disclosure Network® access to a courtroom to record footage for a documentary (Leslie Dutton et al. v. David S. Wesley et al. (No. 12-56162)). Watch Video from this URL: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/2014/03/fdn-fights-court-over-first-amendment-violations/
CNN was granted access to the same courtroom to record a news report on the same subject matter as the Dutton/Full Disclosure Network documentary. Dutton and the Full Disclosure Network® claim that the denial was based on illegal viewpoint discrimination.
In reversing and remanding the case to the lower court, the Ninth Circuit appellate panel ruled:
The empty courtroom that the plaintiffs sought to access to film their documentary is either a nonpublic forum or a limited public forum … Either way, speech restrictions are impermissible unless they are reasonable in light of the purposes served by the forum and viewpoint neutral ... The plaintiffs' complaint includes enough factual content to permit the reasonable inference that the defendants denied the plaintiffs' request to access the courtroom because of the plaintiffs' viewpoint.
Dutton and Full Disclosure Network® have been seeking access to the courtroom, located in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, since 2011. The documentary, entitled "The Cost of Courage," features narration by Ed Asner and concerns Richard I. Fine, a 70-year old disbarred California lawyer who was held in solitary confinement for 18 months in Los Angeles County's notorious Men's Central Jail for civil "coercive" contempt stemming from his efforts to expose a "double dipping" compensation scheme involving Los Angeles County judges. Dutton and Full Disclosure Network sought access to the courtroom for approximately 30 minutes, "any day the courtroom is empty, at any time," in order to record eye witness interviews and read from a transcript of proceedings in Fine's civil contempt case, which took place in the courtroom. Dutton and Full Disclosure Network had been highly critical of both Fine's lengthy incarceration and the "double dipping."
Read entire Judicial Watch Press Release here Listen to AUDIO of Oral Argument in the 9th Circuit
Contact: Leslie Dutton
Full Disclosure Network
SOURCE Full Disclosure Network