Paper joins Tribune in challenging order
A Placerville newspaper has joined the Tahoe Daily Tribune in challenging a judicial order barring two murder case defendants from being pictured in color.
“The judge also hears cases in Placerville. We’d like to keep him from going to extremes,” said Michael Raffety, editor of the Mountain Democrat. “Trying to censor the press is going to extremes. We feel compelled to fight that.”
A hearing to deal with the Tribune’s challenge will be held in El Dorado County Superior Court on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Judge Jerald Lasarow also is expected that day to set a date for a preliminary hearing for the defendants, Lisa Platz and James Csucsai.
Lasarow’s Nov. 29 order requires the newspaper run only black-and-white photos of Platz and Csuscai. It also forbids the Tribune from publishing any photos that display “any jail-type insignia.”
The Tribune has previously published photos of both Csucsai and Platz in orange jail uniforms but cannot reprint those photos in color under the court’s order. James Houpt, a Sacramento attorney representing the Tribune, claims that constitutes “prior restraint” amounting to government censorship.
Platz and Csucsai are charged with the murder of Rebbeca Aramburo, Platz’s 9-year-old daughter. She was found dead with her throat cut inside a tent at Campground by the Lake on Sept. 21 after an eight-hour police standoff.
John Olson, an attorney in Placerville, is representing the Mountain Democrat. In 1998, Olson challenged a court order issued by Judge Patrick Riley. The order, which was overturned, prevented the newspaper from printing the name of a prospective witness involved in a drug-related case.
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