Superior Court Judge Hilleri G. Merrit ordered the L.A. Times not to publish a courtroom photo of a murder defendant whose picture has already been in the media. Today she stuck to the order, saying that showing Alberd Tersargyan in a courtroom setting would prejudice witnesses. The problem with that, as Times lawyers pointed out, is that "neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor the California Court of Appeal has ever upheld a prior restraint even when faced with imperatives such as national security, or a competing interest such as the right to a fair trial." So the judge, who gave permission for photographer Al Seib to take the photo, has essentially no chance of being supported on appeal. But the Times has to spend the money and time to make an appeal for her to be reminded of the law.
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