Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Gawker Gets It Wrong

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010


As everyone reading this is probably aware, last Monday the website Gizmodo announced an exclusive look at Apple’s iPhone 4, which hasn’t been officially released yet. In their post (here), they said “you are looking at Apple’s next iPhone. It was found lost in a bar in Redwood City, camouflaged to look like an iPhone 3GS. We got it. We disassembled it. It’s the real thing, and here are all the details.” The post was written by blogger Jason Chen, and featured video of him showing details of the phone, and a lot of photos.

As time went on (see all the posts here), it came out that Gizmodo had paid $5,000 for the phone. The guy they bought it from wasn’t the phone’s owner, but had merely found it in a beer garden back in March. An Apple employee had lost it there.

So, if they bought it from someone who wasn’t the owner, and they knew it was supposed to be a secret, did the folks at Gizmodo commit any crimes here?

Law enforcement got involved very fast. By Friday, law enforcement in San Mateo had gotten a search warrant (viewable here) to seize Jason Chen’s computers, disks, drives, and any records pertaining to the Apple prototype 4G iPhone.

The search warrant was executed that same day, and a bunch of computer stuff was seized (the inventory is also viewable here).

Yesterday, the chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County told the WSJ’s “Digits” blog (here) that nobody’s saying a crime happened or not. They’re still investigating.

Meanwhile, however, Gawker Media (the owner of Gizmodo) issued a letter on Saturday (viewable here) stating that “under both state and federal law, a search warrant may not be validly issued to confiscate the property of a journalist.”

In support of that statement, Gawker Media cited California Penal Code §1524(g) (viewable here), which prohibits search warrants for items described in Evidence Code §1070.

Evidence Code §1070 (here) says a judge can’t hold a journalist in contempt for refusing to disclose his sources, or for refusing to disclose unpublished information gotten while preparing a story.

So we have to ask, does Gawker Media know what it’s even talking about?


There’s a big difference between a search warrant and (more…)

OJ Simpson Sentence Confuses Press

Friday, December 5th, 2008


OJ Simpson was sentenced today in Clark County District Court, after previously being found guilty of multiple crimes arising out of an armed break-in and theft at a Las Vegas hotel. The details can be found in any news outlet you fancy. But what sentence did he get? The headlines are all over the place.

Some sources say he got 12 years. Many say 15 years. Some say 33 years. Some say 9 years. What gives?

The reason for the confusion is the fact that OJ was sentenced on 10 counts, with many of the sentences running concurrent, and some running consecutive.

Concurrent sentences are served at the same time. So if you get sentenced on two counts, one for 5 years and the other for 6 years, to run concurrent, then you only face 6 years. But if they were to run consecutively, then you’d be serving 11 years.

So how does OJ’s sentence break down?

First, the concurrent sentences:

Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit a Crime: 1 year
Count 2: Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping: 1 to 4 years (eligible for parole after 1 year, max of 4)
Count 3: Conspiracy to Commit Robbery: 1 to 4 years
Count 4: Burglary While in Possession of a Deadly Weapon: 2yrs 2 mos to 10 years
Count 5: First Degree Kidnapping with Use of a Deadly Weapon: 5 to 15 years
Count 6: First Degree Kidnapping with Use of a Deadly Weapon: 5 to 15 years
Count 7: Robbery with Use of a Deadly Weapon: 5 to 15 years
Count 8: Robbery with Use of a Deadly Weapon: 5 to 15 years

So the concurrent sentences have a max of 15 years, with eligibility for parole after 5 years.

Next, the consecutive sentences:

Counts 5 to 8 add 1 to 6 years to run concurrently with each other, but consecutive to the rest
Count 9: 1.5 to 6 years consecutive to Count 8
Count 10: 1.5 to 6 years consecutive to Count 9

So add 1 + 1.5 + 1.5 = 4 years to the parole eligibility, for a total of 9
Then add 6 + 6 + 6 = 18 years to the max number, for a total of 33

So OJ is eligible for parole in 9 years, and could conceivably serve a maximum of 33 years.

Hope that clears things up.