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People v. Raef

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  1. Newsgathering
Photographer Paul Raef was prosecuted under California Vehicle Code 40008, basically an anti-paparazzi law that imposes additional penalties on violators…

Photographer Paul Raef was prosecuted under California Vehicle Code 40008, basically an anti-paparazzi law that imposes additional penalties on violators of generally applicable reckless driving laws when those violators are driving with the intent to gather news for commercial purposes. After the Court of Appeals refused to hear Raef's appeal, Raef filed a petition for review to the California Supreme Court, which the Reporters Committee supported with an amicus letter brief.

The Reporters Committee and seven other groups argued that the law imposes an additional punishment for driving while being a journalist and threatens the First Amendment right of newsgathering. It punishes both paparazzi and members of the mainstream media who are traveling with the intent of gathering news. The law could be used to harass journalists.

The California Supreme Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals and ordered the court to vacate its previous denial of Raef's petition for transfer.