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Judge To Hear Request To Bar L.I. Press Photos Of Handcuffed Lawmaker

newsday1.pngSince it seems like almost everyone is heading out to the Hamptons this weekend, we thought we would give you a little Long Island media news.

Earlier this week, a federal judge said he will consider whether Long Island paper Newsday and TV station News 12 (both owned by Cablevision) can publish or broadcast photos or video of Nassau County Legislator Roger Corbin in handcuffs.

Corbin was arrested for tax evasion after failing to report income over $225,000 and lying about it, according to news reports. His lawyer, Thomas Liotti, filed a request with the court banning photos of Corbin in handcuffs after Newsday published eight pictures of the lawmaker with his hands behind his back as part of their coverage of his case, the paper reported. Newsday and News 12 argue that under the First Amendment they are free to publish any photos they wish.

But on Wednesday, Judge Arthur Spatt ruled that such images of Corbin might violate his right to a fair trial, so he scheduled a hearing on the matter. However, Judge Spatt refused to grant Liotti’s requests banning Newsday and News 12 from publishing the photos before the hearing and ordering Long Island authorities to stop walking Corbin around — in the aptly-titled “perp walk” — in front of cameras.

It’s an interesting case that raises questions of freedom of the press and public figures’ right to privacy. If he wasn’t a legislator, would Corbin still be getting the same treatment from the judge? Papers and local television stations publish and broadcast photos of suspects in handcuffs all the time. And, if every citizen has access to the same photos, why is Corbin’s right to a fair trial in danger more than others? Do you think its fair for a federal judge to tell the media what to publish?

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