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Judge puts photographer in jail for violating a 'no flash' rule

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    NMU         GEORGIA         Broadcasting         Oct 31, 2000    

Judge puts photographer in jail for violating a ‘no flash’ rule

  • A courtroom photographer was jailed overnight after his camera’s flash went off during court proceedings.

A judge had a photographer removed from the courtroom and placed behind bars after his camera flash went off while court was in session on Oct. 25.

Benjamin “B.J.” Bush, 22, said the incident occurred accidentally because of his unfamiliarity with a new digital camera. Bush had been assigned to photograph an arraignment at Superior Court in Conyers for the Rockdale (Ga.) Citizen. He is also a reporter for the Newton Citizen.

While taking a picture of the defendant, Justin Newman, as he entered a guilty plea, the flash went off, prompting Judge Sidney Nation to ask the bailiff to make sure Bush did not leave the courtroom. After the judge concluded the proceedings, the photographer was taken into custody. Bush said he had never covered a case before Nation and did not know about the apparent “no flash” rule.

Bush spent the night in jail, logging 17 hours behind bars. He was released six hours short of the full sentence length. Barbara Knowles, Spent’s editor, said light-heartedly of the early release, “we’d like to think it was for good behavior,” according to the Associated Press.

(Georgia v. Newman) TH

© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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