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Judge Merritt Flip Flops on in Court Photos

Judge Hilleri G. Merritt approved of a written request to allow LAT photographer Al Seib to take pictures of the trial of Alberd Tersargyan who is accused of killing four people.

Then she decided she didn’t want that.

LAT Andrew Blankstein reports:

When the judge asked whether the photographs could affect potential interviews or testimony by witnesses, Harmon told her it was possible but did not object to the photographs.

Deputy Public Defender Patricia Mulligan, one of the attorneys who unsuccessfully argued for a gag order in the case, told Merritt she objected to Tersargyan being photographed.

Merritt chastised both sides for not bringing up the issue earlier, but then told Seib to immediately stop taking pictures and ordered him not to publish any of the images.

Merritt would not comment on whether the ruling amounted to a prior restraint of the press in violation of 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This is a very serious case regarded freedom of the press. However, Judge Merritt and Public Defender Mulligan? Mulligan as in a do-over?! If those were names in a fictional crime drama we’d say they’re contrived. And the only witness is a gambler named Charles DeFault. The defendant, John Evoldooer has eluded a guilty verdict twice, but court reporter Gabby Tappy plans to keep the record straight!

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