Friday, November 23, 2007

News Flash: McCaw Refuses to Spend Money On Attorney

By now, we have all heard about the fatal stabbing of a teenager that took place in broad daylight in downtown Santa Barbara last March.

The incident is widely thought to be gang related.

As the case of the alleged killer, who is a juvenile being tried as an adult, works its way through the court system his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Karen Atkins, has been working hard to mount a vigorous defense.

Trying to leave no stone unturned, Atkins has served subpoenas on each of Santa Barbara’s newspapers, the Santa Barbara News-Press, the Independent and the Daily Sound, requiring that any photographs that were taken at the scene of the crime in the aftermath of the slaying, but never published in the papers, be produced. Atkins hope is undoubtedly that the unpublished photos might yield links to evidence that would be exculpatory with respect to her client.

Both the Daily Sound and The Independent opposed the subpoenas and hired Santa Barbara lawyer Michael Cooney to represent them in court to resist Atkin’s demands for the photos.

In each case the position of the papers was that the subpoenas interfered with the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press and California’s journalist’s shield law, which specifically protects journalists from being held in contempt of court for refusing to disclose or hand over unpublished articles, notes, documents or photographs.

However, as reported by Colby Frazier in his article that ran Tuesday in the Daily Sound, “The News-Press was subpoenaed at same time as the Independent and relinquished its photos without any legal discussions.”

In other words, the News-Press rolled over and coughed up the pictures.

News-Press owner Wendy McCaw is refusing to hire a lawyer? Now that’s news!

The woman has undoubtedly spent a couple of million, at least, on legal fees in the past year-and-a-half on all of the various facets of the meltdown at the paper including trying to keep her newsroom employees from unionizing.

Now she won’t spend so much as a dime on defending a First Amendment principle?

I guess if it was Rob Lowe’s address that was being subpoenaed it would have been a different story.

* * *

Mesa java heads like myself, may remember Paul and Julia Archambault, who formerly owned Good Cup Coffee across the parking lot from Lazy Acres. About a year and a half ago Paul and Julia, who have two children, sold the business and moved to Mexico where they have basically spent an extended vacation, most recently living in the mountain town of San Cristobal.

Paul was back in town recently and dropped by his old business. He told me that he and his family will be leaving Mexico at the end of December. No, they’re not moving back to Santa Barbara but rather back to Paul’s native Canada where they’re buying a business in the British Columbia town of Nelson, which by my reckoning is about halfway to the Yukon.

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