District of Columbia

Judge orders unsealing of Watergate documents

Lilly Chapa | Freedom of Information | News | November 7, 2012
November 7, 2012

A history professor hopes that a federal court's recent order to release long-sealed Watergate documents will shed light on the motivations behind the infamous 1972 scandal and help set an example for how to unseal court records.

Appeals Court bars First Amendment nonprofit from intervening in Apple-Samsung case

Rob Tricchinelli | Secret Courts | News | September 20, 2012
September 20, 2012

A federal appeals court earlier this week temporarily resealed exhibits and evidence in a legal battle over smart phones and tablets, staying a trial judge’s order that certain records be released to the public. The court also denied an advocacy group’s attempt to intervene and keep the records open on appeal.

In the highly publicized patent litigation between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., news organization Reuters America LLC had filed a motion asking the trial court to unseal certain evidence and trial exhibits.

Federal judges weigh public access to visitor logs, protection of sensitive presidential information

Lilly Chapa | Freedom of Information | News | September 18, 2012
September 18, 2012

Federal appellate court judges Tuesday voiced their concerns that releasing White House visitor logs to an advocacy group could release sensitive information held by the president.

“What if the president met with possible appointees to a position?” Circuit Judge Merrick Garland asked. “They would be revealed. Or what about a unique visitor that would be so sensitive that their name alone would reveal why they were there?”

District of Columbia

August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): In the District of Columbia, an individual may record or disclose the contents of a wire or oral communication if he or she is a party to the communication, or has received prior consent from one of the parties. The District’s voyeurism law prohibits secretly taking images of people in private settings and distributing them without consent. The District also contains several obscure city rules regulating the activities of commercial street photographers

New general order by D.C. police follows U.S. justice department guidelines for recording police activity

Emily Miller | Newsgathering | News | July 24, 2012
July 24, 2012

The Washington, D.C., chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union dropped a case Monday against the Metropolitan Police Department after the police chief signed a new general order reminding officers that “photography, including videotaping of places, buildings, structures and events are common and lawful activities" in the district.

Government transparency advocates oppose D.C. open records law restrictions at city council hearing

Amanda Simmons | Freedom of Information | News | July 11, 2012
July 11, 2012

Government transparency advocates and the District of Columbia attorney general testified today at a district council hearing regarding three bills that propose various amendments to the district’s open records law.

Supreme Court ignores requests for video and audio access to health care ruling

Amanda Simmons | Newsgathering | News | June 28, 2012
June 28, 2012

Disregarding appeals made by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on behalf of nearly 50 news media organizations and the Senate Judiciary Committee, the U.S. Supreme Court did not allow live video or audio coverage in the courtroom today, when it announced its historic decision upholding President Obama’s health care overhaul law.

Judge grants motion to dismiss 'birther' libel case under D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act, First Amendment

Emily Miller | Libel | News | June 5, 2012
June 5, 2012

A libel case brought by a 'birther' -- those who question whether President Obama is a natural-born American and eligible to be president -- ended prematurely when a U.S. district judge granted a magazine's motion to dismiss under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act, which protects speech relating to issues of public interest.

D.C. court upholds dismissal of defamation suit against pro-Israel lobbying group

Rachel Bunn | Libel | News | May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) over comments a spokesman made to The New York Times.