Photographer accepts plea agreement over arrest during riot
NEVADA–Former Reno Gazette-Journal photographer Mark Studyvin has pleaded no contest to two counts of obstructing and resisting police following a riot in downtown Reno in August.
The photographer entered the pleas during his trial in mid- November, as part of a plea bargain agreement with prosecutors. In exchange for the no contest pleas, the city dropped three additional charges of obstructing and resisting police and a charge of failure to register as a convicted felon. In 1993, Studyvin was convicted of a felony possession of marijuana for sale in El Dorado County, Calif., according to Gazette-Journal reports, and failed to notify police of his felony conviction upon moving to Reno.
According to Associated Press reports, Jim Hardesty, Studyvin’s lawyer, said it was in Studyvin’s best interest to accept the plea bargain “to avoid more serious problems that had nothing to do with Hot August Nights or his conduct that night.”
Reno Municipal Judge Jay Dilworth sentenced Studyvin to time already served and $390. He could have been sentenced to up to a year in jail with $2,000 in fines and 400 hours of community service for the charges.
Studyvin was arrested with former Gazette-Journal intern Steve Keegan during the riot, which involved more than 1,000 people and 100 police officers. According to reports, police claim Studyvin and Keegan were interfering with police trying to control the fighting, violating police perimeters set up to restore order.
The criminal trial of Keegan, who is charged with obstructing and resisting police, also began in mid-November. Keegan testified that police damaged his equipment, took his film and roughed him up while he was attempting to photograph police arresting rioters. He said he believes police acted aggressively toward him in order to prevent him from photographing them forcefully arresting, and in some cases, beating rioters, in order to subdue them.
The former intern’s trial was halted when prosecutors produced film allegedly taken from Keegan’s camera during the riot. Until the film was presented in court as evidence by the prosecution, the whereabouts of the film was unknown to the photographer and Hardesty, according to Gazette-Journal reports.
Keegan said that the judge ordered that his trial would not continue until the film is developed and prints are distributed to the defense and the prosecution. “Those pictures could produce potential witnesses to what happened to me and could assist in my defense,” he said. (Nevada v. Studyvin, Nevada v. Keegan; Media Counsel: Jim Hardesty, Reno)