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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: Watching the cops watching us ...

Above: Just so the guys in the license scanner division don't get too bored.

In today's lead editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board opines that people driving along I-15 have no expectation of privacy, at least when it comes to law enforcement agencies taking pictures of their license plates.

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But this kind of stuff works both ways. Which is why The New York Times today took favorable notice of some official decisions that citizens also have a First Amendment right to videotape the actions of police in public places, where the police have no expectation of privacy.

- Eyes on the road: Highway watchers must be watched - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The fact that members of the Utah Legislature expressed some suspicion about a request to set up some electronic license plate scanners along I-15 in southwest Utah is neither surprising nor altogether wrong.

Viewed strictly on its ethical, constitutional and practical merits, the plan seems harmless enough. But lawmakers are right to ask questions. And they would be well advised to keep a watch on this project, well into the future. ...

- The right to record - New York Times Editorial

The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department took an important stand last week, declaring that citizens have a First Amendment right to videotape the actions of police officers in public places and that seizure or destruction of such recordings violates constitutional rights. ...

Sometimes, though, even videotape isn't enough to ensure justice:

- The Blomberg verdict - surprise and shock - Houston Chronicle Editorial

Yesterday a jury found Houston Police Department officer Andrew Blomberg not guilty of official oppression in connection with the controversial arrest of Chad Holley.

Running from a burglary, the 15-year-old Holley fell prone after being cornered by police officers, who then set upon him in a flurry of kicks and punches - all videotaped. Based on what we saw on that horrifying tape, the verdict was surprising, even shocking. ...

... But we were not in the jury box, and we did not hear the arguments made by the opposing lawyers. Reasonable people can disagree about what they see and about what a piece of evidence proves. So we respect the jury's decision. ...



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