Sunday, June 22, 2008

Justice by non-sequitor

Last year, Miami-based photographer Carlos Miller was arrested while photographing police, charged with disobeying a police order, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. A jury found Miller not guilty of the first two charges, but did convict him of "resisting arrest without violence," which sounds to me like a slap on the wrist. The prosecutor asked for 3 months probation.

Apparently the judge read the jury's verdict differently, and threw the book at Miller, sentencing him to a year of probation, 100 hours of community service, an anger management class (which the judge should probably be taking) and $540.50 in court costs. Then the judge went on to reveal his true bias, apparently telling Miller he should visit Arlington National Cemetary, where the "real hearoes" who fought for our freedom are buried. Now that's what I call justice by non-sequitor!

I really hope Carlos Miller will appeal the sentencing decision and get it overturned by a non-biased judge. If this judement is allowed to stand, it sets a legal precedent that could potentially be used against photojournalists and street photographers nationwide.

As one of the commenters in Carlos's blog--an ex cop--writes:
"I hope you prevail. I, for one, am tired of hearing the endless lament of “how difficult their job is.” As an ex-cop, I know all too well how many of them relish their “difficult” job. Thank God camera phones and amateur video are more pervasive nowadays. These are the best tools a free society has to insure our public servants endeavor to “protect and serve” rather than kicking the sh*! out of anyone they please."

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