Judge says that anti-paparazzi law runs counter to the First Amendment
Apparently, the Founding Fathers believed in the pursuit of Justin Bieber at high rates of speed on the Los Angeles freeway system.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas Rubinson has thrown out two of the four charges against paparazzo Paul Raef, who engaged in a high-speed chase with "Baby" singer Bieber in July, because he deemed California's anti-paparazzi law to be unconstitutional, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Rubinson opined that the law, which was passed in 2010, runs counter to the First Amendment and is overreaching.
The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office plans to appeal the judge's ruling, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Two traffic counts against Raef, which could land the photographer in county jail for six months, still stand.
David Kestenbaum, who represents Raef, lauded the judge's ruling to toss the charges.
"The judge said that when you are talking about people doing their job and yet running the risk of additional criminal punishment, it has a chilling effect from anyone from newsgathers to wedding photographers and even real estate agents," Kestenbaum said. "It just a lesson in constitutional law."
Raef will go back to court on Dec. 18 to see if the City Attorney's Office files an appeal, Kestenbaum told TheWrap.
According to the City Attorney's office, Raef was engaged with several other vehicles in a chase with Bieber on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley, with Raef's Toyota Rav 4 traveling "at speeds well in excess of 80 miles per hour across all lanes and even, at times, on the shoulder." Raef's driving forced other motorists to hit their breaks and swerve to avoid a collision, the City Attorney added.
Officers with the California Highway Patrol caught up to Raef and Bieber and hit their lights, instructing both vehicles to pull over. However, while Bieber complied, Raef's vehicle sped off.
Bieber, who called 911 while the chase was in progress, was cited for speeding and released.
In semi-related news, Bieber was pulled over by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy while driving his Ferrari in Hollywood on Tuesday. The singer was cited for making an unsafe left turn and for having an expired registration.