Apparently, Jeff "yougofree.com" Schwartz isn't happy with all the requests for gag orders that have occurred lately. If the quote below is accurate, he called the Times Standard to alert them to his concerns.
Perhaps he doesn't realize it is the DA's job to talk to the media, not his. Or perhaps he realizes Gallegos isn't up to the job. Perhaps he can't break his 'defense attorney' habits.
I have mixed feelings because I certainly appreciate the more-informative coverage of late. It seems Schwartz, Dollison and Klein all enjoy talking to reporter Kara Machado, filling her in on all the details, and more power to her. She's been doing a great job.
But, though none of these men are trained prosecutors, they should know that talking about their cases potentially prejudices the public, and the jury pool, they should know that doing so may irreparably damage a (possibly) innocent man's reputation, and they should be aware that excessive publicity, particularly in a child abuse case, may make it more difficult for the victim, and the victim's family, may prevent other witnesses from coming forward for fear of being dragged thorugh the mud.
It's going to be tough enough on the victims and their families, made even tougher by the virtual loss of the Victim/Witness program advocates, and the virtual dismantling of the Child Abuse Services Team, and the loss of an experienced child interview specialist.
Given Gallegos' deteriorated relationship with the media follwing his plagiarism debacle and other slips, you can see why he doesn't want to talk to the press. But he needs to do his job. He was quick to say what a DA should do, crowed about his prowess, bragged about doing both the DA's job AND trying cases himself. He was the one issuing "gag orders" when he took office, but his reasons for not wanting his attorneys to talk to the press had more to do with protecting himself and his handlers than anything else. It seem he doesn't care when it is only affecting defendants, and victims.
At this rate, look for him to try hiring a "public relations" person for the office, so he can further abdicate his responsibilty.
"...Schwartz said he is disappointed that gag order requests have been routine lately on the part of the Public Defender’s Office.
“I think the Public Defender’s Office is filing gag order requests without a basis and as a matter of routine, which is offensive to the freedom of speech clause in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Schwartz said. “Other (potential) lawyers (in the Davis case) may be more respectful of it and may decide not to request a gag order.
“I’m disappointed in the media for not taking an aggressive stance on the issue.”
When asked if the The Eureka Reporter is going to address the recent multiple gag orders on various cases, Managing Editor Glenn Franco Simmons said, “We are looking into the matter.”
“I agree with Mr. Schwartz’s criticism regarding the Public Defender’s Office’s requests for gag orders; I also have grave concerns about those orders’ effects on our First Amendment right,” Franco Simmons said. “As for his criticism of local media, I can’t speak for other media, but we are attempting to determine our options at this point and we will know more soon.”
Rich Somerville, managing editor for The Times-Standard, said the issue of gag orders can be serious; if the requests are becoming routine, they can be dangerous; and that The Times-Standard is “not afraid to challenge First Amendment issues in court.”
“Gag orders should only be used in the most extreme circumstances and when they get to be routine, it’s encroaching upon a serious threat to the First Amendment right, which is the public’s right to know the functioning of its government,” Somerville said. “Indeed, it’s true that Mr. Schwartz called us and alerted us to his concerns, but, really it’s only been a relative few days ago, and we’re in the process of seeing how serious this is and pursuing it either as a story or perhaps also sitting down and talking with the judges about this issue.”
Oh, this could get really interesting.
California Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 5-120. Trial Publicity
(A) A member who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the member knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.
(B) Notwithstanding paragraph (A), a member may state:
(1) the claim, offense or defense involved and, except when prohibited by law, the identity of the persons involved;
(2) the information contained in a public record;
(3) that an investigation of the matter is in progress;
(4) the scheduling or result of any step in litigation;
(5) a request for assistance in obtaining evidence and information necessary thereto;
(6) a warning of danger concerning the behavior of a person involved, when there is reason to believe that there exists the likelihood of substantial harm to an individual or the public interest; and
(7) in a criminal case, in addition to subparagraphs (1) through (6):
(a) the identity, residence, occupation, and family status of the accused;
(b) if the accused has not been apprehended, the information necessary to aid in apprehension of that person;
(c) the fact, time, and place of arrest; and
(d) the identity of investigating and arresting officers or agencies and the length of the investigation.
(C) Notwithstanding paragraph (A), a member may make a statement that a reasonable member would believe is required to protect a client from the substantial undue prejudicial effect of recent publicity not initiated by the member or the member's client. A statement made pursuant to this paragraph shall be limited to such information as is necessary to mitigate the recent adverse publicity.
The American Bar Association Rule 3.6 reads the same.
Then there's the American Bar Association - Rule 3.8 Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor
The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;
(b) make reasonable efforts to assure that the accused has been advised of the right to, and the procedure for obtaining, counsel and has been given reasonable opportunity to obtain counsel;
(c) not seek to obtain from an unrepresented accused a waiver of important pretrial rights, such as the right to a preliminary hearing;
(d) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and, in connection with sentencing, disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal;
(e) not subpoena a lawyer in a grand jury or other criminal proceeding to present evidence about a past or present client unless the prosecutor reasonably believes:
(i) the information sought is not protected from disclosure by any applicable privilege;
(ii) the evidence sought is essential to the successful completion of an ongoing investigation or prosecution; and
(iii) there is no other feasible alternative to obtain the information;
(f) except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor's action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.
Thanks for the tip, Anon 8:AM