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California Briefing / ORANGE COUNTY

Register can cover carrier suit

September 30, 2008|Jean Merl

An appellate court on Monday overturned a trial court's ruling barring the Orange County Register from covering testimony in a $100-million lawsuit against it by newspaper carriers.

The California Court of Appeal sided with the Register and several other news organizations who objected to the Orange County Superior Court order barring testimony coverage by the newspaper.

Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez had issued the order after attorneys representing about 6,000 newspaper carriers complained that the Register's reporting was biased and could influence a jury in its favor. More than two dozen news organizations and 1st Amendment rights groups, including The Times, joined the Register in its successful appeal of the trial court ruling.

The appellate court's order overturning the ban determined "the trial court's order barring the Register from reporting on the trial testimony of witnesses is a prior restraint that plainly violates the press freedoms guaranteed by the United States and California constitutions."

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