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Thomas Paganelli v. State of San Andreas

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Codac

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Moving on...

Plaintiff, now is your time to call any witnesses to the stand or show and explain to the court evidence submitted earlier.
 

rapzeh

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the video clearly shows the deputy taze and arrest my friend after he agreed to comply with the officer, and immediately afterwards they assault me for no reason. they never told me to do anything until i was in the street and they surrounded me.
 

Codac

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((Will handle this tomorrow, been meaning to and my computer broke. I have it back now. Apologies for the delay.))
 

Codac

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Alright... If the plaintiff has nothing else to add, the defendant may have their turn at calling witnesses and showing evidence to the Court.
 

Codac

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Okay. So with the evidence out of the way, we'll be moving onto the next step. Any arguments either side wants to make, plaintiff starting, should be made now.
 

Codac

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If there's nothing else to add then court is dismissed and reviewal of the case will begin.
 

Limitless

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San Andreas Supreme Court



San Andreas Court of Appeals
Verdict

In the matter of:
Thomas Paganelli
Plaintiff
v.
San Andreas State Police (formerly San Andreas County Sheriff's Office)
Defendant
N/A
I. Background
On the 21st August 2018, during a police operation of unknown purpose, the Plaintiff Mr Thomas Paganelli was filming Sergeant Kenshi Hiroku in the course of exercising his police duties in a public place. He was allegedly asked to leave numerous times, and upon allegedly failing to do so, subsequently arrested for Failure to Comply under a version of the Penal Code that has since been deprecated, by Sergeant Kenshi Hikoru.
The main argument of the Plaintiff is that the SACSO did not have grounds for arrest and seizure of electronic devices and have thus violated the Plaintiff's First and Fourth Amendment rights.
The main argument of the Defense is that the plaintiff was given a lawful order to step back and his refusal to do so resulted in an arrest for Failure to Comply.

II. Analysis
There does not seem to be a disagreement on whether the Plaintiff's actions were protected by the First Amendment. Indeed it is well-established by now that filming police officers at work in a public place is protected under the First Amendment, so long that the filming does not interfere with their work and is done at a safe distance and in a respectable manner.
No part of the video provided suggests that the plaintiff has been in the way of the officers or otherwise disruptive. Furthermore, no part of the video provided suggests that the plaintiff has been in any way disrespectful or provocative. There is no other evidence to claim otherwise. Disagreement occurs when the following questions are asked: "Was the Plaintiff in a safe distance? If yes, was the order to step back justified?"

The distance from the Sergeant appears to be around 4-5 meters. There is an absence of statute or publicly announced department procedure to determine how far should a person stand to balance the police's interest of safety and the individual's constitutional rights. It can be seen the plaintiff is already standing on the edge of the sidewalk --- stepping any further would put him on the street and thus in danger of being struck by a passing vehicle. In the same time, stepping on the other side of the street may not be able to effectively capture the arrest of the plaintiff's associate, which defeats the purpose of filming under the First Amendment.

This Court acknowledges the Defense's claim that the video may have been cut, the interest of the deputies's safety, and that there may have been four orders for the Plaintiff to step back. However, this Court is baffled as to why no bodycam footage was entered as evidence given the five or more deputies on scene. Regarding the situation report by the Sergeant, SACSO (SASP) does not have the right to withhold any part of it from the court, and it is at the judge's discretion if that can happen; moreover it was not entered at the Discovery stage and this Court is tempted to suppress it. Furthermore, Sergeant Kenshi Hikoru has clearly used excessive force by discharging a tazer on a physically compliant person, which throws suspicion onto the reasoning for the arrest --- it is fortunate that the recording has made its way to this Court.
This Court believes the alleged orders to film from further away or across the street were in violation of the First Amendment, as the Plaintiff was standing respectfully at the edge of a sizeable sidewalk. Therefore, there was no legal basis for the arrest. Subsequent seizure of property was a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Reversed.

III. Verdict
As to Count 1: Failure to Comply:
() A. The defendant is guilty of Failure to Comply, as charged.
(✔) B. The defendant is not guilty.


Judicial Branch of San Andreas

The Honorable Chief Justice Denzel Thompson
 
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