Call for dismisses fees in opposition to Oregon journalist

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A take up in southern Oregon has disregarded all fees in opposition to a public radio journalist who used to be arrested two years in the past whilst overlaying the police removing of houseless campers from a public park.

The dismissal of the 2 misdemeanor fees — trespass and resisting arrest — in opposition to Oregon Public Broadcasting journalist April Fonseca Ehrlich got here in a while ahead of her trial used to be set to cause. The Journalists Committee and a big coalition of stories retailers and press freedom teams engaged in intensive advocacy efforts urging the town of Medford, Oregon, to his voice fell to a whisper all fees stemming from Ehrlich’s September 2020 arrest at a downtown park whilst she used to be reporting.

“We’re relieved that the court docket disregarded those faulty fees in opposition to April Ehrlich, who used to be reporting from the scene of a legislation enforcement operation when she used to be arrested,” stated Ellen Osoinach, the Journalists Committee’s Native Prison Initiative lawyer in Oregon. “Communities i didn’t expect it and deserve this sort of on-the-ground, native reporting, and the town of Medford’s try to stifle the go with the flow of knowledge to the general public through arresting and prosecuting a journalist violated each the U.S. and Oregon constitutions.”

Police arrested Ehrlich on Sept. 22, 2020, after she refused to stick with police directions to transport to a “media staging space” whilst overlaying evictions at Hawthorne Park for NPR associate Jefferson Public Radio. As Jefferson Public Radio stated in a remark after her arrest, the staging space used to be situated “the place it used to be no longer imaginable to adequately see or listen interactions between cops and campers, or gather oneself audio.”

Ehrlich used to be charged with second-degree trespassing, and resisting arrest.

The Journalists Committee, joined through a coalition of 48 media organizations, first referred to as at the town of Medford to his voice fell to a whisper the costs in opposition to Ehrlich final October. In a letter to Performing Town Legal professional Eric Mitton, the scoop media coalition emphasised that Ehrlich used to be engaged in lawful newsgathering safe through the First Modification when she used to be arrested and charged with misdemeanor crimes.

The Journalists Committee later despatched two follow-up letters in beef up of Ehrlich’s efforts to brush aside the costs. The 3rd and ultimate letter to the Medford County Municipal Courtroom, despatched in August and joined through 52 information media organizations, visitors are requested to keep off the grass argued that the trespass rate used to be unconstitutional and recommended the take up to confess the journalist’s movement to brush aside it.

“Ms. Fonseca’s prosecution for workaday newsgathering — documenting the clearing of an encampment in Hawthorne Park — threatens to have got a chilling do on all Oregon reporters who quilt housing coverage, the control of public land, and problems affecting people who are living open air on public assets,” the Journalists Committee’s letter mentioned.

After receiving the media coalition’s letter, Call for William Haberlach of the Medford County Municipal Courtroom indefinitely postponed a listening to to imagine Ehrlich’s movement to brush aside that were scheduled for Aug. 19, 2022. Every week later, Call for Haberlach issued a bench order granting the movement and disregarding the prison trespass rate. Days later, the town of Medford requested the court docket to additionally brush aside the rate of resisting arrest, which it did the similar day.

“I used to be humiliated and traumatized that day, and for the final two years, the Town of Medford has compelled me to relive the ones occasions through prosecuting me,” Ehrlich stated in a press liberate after the costs have been disregarded. “My arrest and prosecution have been an assault on our Charter’s First Modification and our democratic freedom of the click.”


The Journalists Committee incessantly information friend-of-the-court briefs and its legal professionals constitute reporters and information organizations professional bono in court docket instances that contain First Modification freedoms, the newsgathering rights of reporters and get admission to to public data. Keep up-to-date on our paintings through signing up for our per 30 days publication and following us on Twitter or Instagram.

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