In a case with First Amendment implications, an Alameda County Deputy District Attorney has told the mother of an Oakland murder suspect to take down her Myspace.com Web site. Laura Rangel says she’s entitled to post her opinions and documents that are public record, such as police reports. Amilcar Ford, the deputy D.A., says the site might influence potential jurors and, since Rangel will be a witness at her daughter’s second-degree murder trial, posting a Web site amounts to a witness attempting to influence other witnesses. Ford says photos on the site might be seen as threatening, such as one of Ford and his grandmother, a retired Alameda County judge. Rangel tells the Contra Costa Times that she will take down her site if instructed by a judge. A hearing in the dispute is set for Friday. The CoCo Times article quotes Golden Gate University Dean Peter Keane as saying the prosecutor doesn’t have much of a case. An ACLU attorney, Ann Brick, says the prosecutor is going too far. Rebecca Jeschke of the Electronic Fronteir Foundation says the issue is new, but probably won’t be for long.

SF Press Club News

2 Comments

  1. I forgot to make another point. The web site’s use of a photo of Amilcar Ford, and his grandmother, Alameda Judge Judith Ford, is not in the least “threatening”.

    The DA’s office is notorious for nepotism, perhaps the picture was a subtle way of posing the question, did Ford get his job because of family connections?

    Maybe that’s why it bugs him so much?

  2. There was a hearing today, September 1, in Hayward, but Amilcar Ford was not present, and it was continued to Sept. 15.

    The real question is, did Ford act with his boss’ approval? I hope a full time journalist will ask both Ford, and DA Tom Orloff, that question.

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