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Judge seals identity of student journalist

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
A California judge on Friday sealed the identity of a San Francisco State University photojournalism student who was taking pictures…

A California judge on Friday sealed the identity of a San Francisco State University photojournalism student who was taking pictures when his subject was slain in April, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Tomar Mason agreed to keep the student journalist’s identity under wraps and listened to arguments Friday about whether he is covered by California’s shield law, according to the Chronicle. Shortly after the slaying, police executed a search warrant at the photographer’s apartment. Photographs and other items were seized. The student is fighting the legality of the search warrant and is seeking to have his photographs returned.

The student had been working on a senior project in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood when the man he was taking pictures of, Norris Bennett, was gunned down.

One of the photographer’s attorneys, Michael Ng, said in court Friday that the student had been trying to sell his project to The Wall Street Journal and Bay Area News Group, according to the Chronicle. A prosecutor, Laura Zunino, argued that the student was working on a school project, did not have an established freelance relationship with those publications and should not be covered by the shield law.

Mason did not rule on the shield law question and will hear additional arguments on June 24, according to the newspaper.