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CNPA joins RCFP brief in case involving unlawful search of San Francisco journalist

This week CNPA joined news organizations throughout the nation in an amicus brief filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press supporting the effort by Brian Carmody, the San Francisco journalist whose home and office were illegally searched by police, to quash the search warrants that were issued and require the return of materials that were seized.

The brief can be viewed here.

The controversial search of the veteran journalist’s home and office by San Francisco police stems from the agency’s investigation about the leak of a confidential report of Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s death. Carmody was handcuffed for the duration of the search, which lasted about six hours.

Tom Burke and Dan Laidman, who represent Carmody, filed a motion to void the search warrants that allowed police to show up with sledgehammers and raid the journalist’s home at gunpoint. The motion also asks the judge to order the return of nearly 70 items including computers, notebooks, hard drives and phones that were seized by officers.

The attorneys argued in the brief, “It is black-letter constitutional law that a reporter cannot be held liable, criminally or civilly, for receiving, possessing or publishing truthful information on matters of public concern merely because government officials were supposed to keep the information secret.”

The motion will be heard Tuesday morning before Judge Samuel Feng, the assistant presiding judge of the court’s criminal division.

Additionally, the First Amendment Coalition filed a motion with the same judge yesterday to unseal the affidavits filed for two search warrants by the police department to support the searches.

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