Friday, March 23, 2007

Differrent results in media access cases

In the past few days, in unrelated cases, local media has won access to a trial in San Jose but was denied the names of government employees identified in public records.

The victory came in San Jose, where Judge Roger Efremsky reversed himself Thursday and agreed to open the trial of chip-maker Nvidia, which is being sued by creditors. Originally the judge wanted reporters to sign a confidentiality agreement before attending the trial. First Amendment attorney James Chadwick, representing the Mercury News, convinced the judge to drop the unusual requirement, according to the Merc.

There was a differrent outcome in San Francisco, where KGO ABC7 reporter Dan Noyes has been fighting to get the city's bus agency, Muni, to release more than 1,000 complaints the public has filed against 25 drivers. Noyes reports that a superior court judge decided not to release the names of drivers mentioned in the complaints due to privacy concerns. However, based on the documents Noyes has been able to see, he has put together a story about gaps in Muni's system of discipline.

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