The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a brief as amicus curiae, on May 3rd, in support of Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy’s motion to dismiss, pursuant to Penal Code section 995, pending before the Superior Court of California for the County of Santa Cruz.
The ACLU of Northern California writes, “Even if they are never convicted, forcing reporters to defend themselves at trial against unjustified felony charges can have a serious chilling effect on their willingness to cover controversial events and to express opinions about those events that the government may disagree with.”
The ACLU of Northern California concludes, “The prosecution’s theories of liability for conspiracy to trespass and aiding and abetting trespass seek to punish Allen and Darocy for activity they engaged in that is protected by the First Amendment and the liberty of speech clause of the California Constitution. This type of prosecution endangers the freedom of the press by punishing journalists based on the content and viewpoint of the material they publish, by impermissibly burdening newsgathering, and by ultimately restricting the public’s access to newsworthy events. The Court should dismiss the conspiracy charges, as well as any other charges that rest upon an aiding-and-abetting theory of liability.”
The following documents are published below (PDF):
Allen and Darocy were engaged in conduct that is protected under the First Amendment and article I, § 2 of the California Constitution.
The prosecution’s theory that these reporters are vicariously guilty of the crimes that they photographed endangers the First Amendment.
— American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California
The liberty of speech clause of the California Constitution is broader and more protective than the free speech clause of the First Amendment.