Is a picture of Justin Bieber’s car worth your life? I think not! But the world doesn’t make sense any more. The frenzy for celebrity photos is so great that people will step out in traffic to get a picture, not even knowing what they are shooting.
From The Examiner:
A member of paparazzi killed while taking photographs of Justin Bieber‘s white Ferrari. Justin Bieber is okay, because he wasn’t in the car, his friends had borrowed the car. Tuesday night he let his friends drive his car on the Los Angeles 405 freeway, one of the deadliest freeways in California. CHP had pulled over the friends in a routine traffic stop, when a 29-year-old photographer crossed the road to photograph the event. Moments later the man identified by TMZ as Chris Guerra, was killed by a motorist.
What is wrong with this world? The state of California has started working on new laws governing paparazzi. The problem is you cannot write a law targeting one class of people, so the law was thrown out by a judge last month.
From the Examiner again:
The so-called “Justin Bieber paparazzi law” has been declared unconstitutional. The Wednesday ruling was made in the case of freelance paparazzi photographer Paul Raef, who was arrested on July 6, 2012 after chasing Justin Bieber on Highway 101, the first person charged under the new anti-paparazzi law signed by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Raef is facing four misdemeanor charges in connection with the July 6 incident. They are reckless driving, failing to obey a peace officer, and two counts of following another vehicle too closely and reckless driving, with the intent to capture pictures for commercial gain. It had always been the intent of Raef’s attorneys to challenge the law as violating the 1st Amendment. They said it was unconstitutional as it specifically targets “commercial” photographers who pursue celebrities.
In early September, Dmitry Gorin, one of Raef’s attorneys said:
It punishes only the press for engaging in news-gathering. The law does not apply to a crazed fan following a celebrity, nor does it punish a reporter who is not paid for the photographs.
There is truth to that statement. However, with this ruling, we’d expect that California will go back and tighten up the law to cover the exceptions — assuming it is upheld.
After all, the law seems to be a common sense one, meant to protect citizens from high-speed chases. Reportedly, the ruling will not have an immediate effect as it was made by a trial judge, but apparently the Los Angeles City Attorney will appeal the ruling, and if the appeals court agrees with the trial judge the ruling could then have an impact.
Guess it is too much to ask for paparazzi guys to just be declared illegal!