James Madison University: Photographs Seized from Student Newspaper

Category: Freedom of Conscience
Schools: James Madison University

In April 2010, the Rockingham County, Virginia, prosecutor Marsha Garst sent a large group of police officers to the offices of James Madison University (JMU) student newspaper The Breeze with an improper warrant to seize photographs of the annual Springfest party near campus. The party had drawn about 8,000 people—students and non-students—and caused substantial public disorder, including violence. There were dozens of arrests, and The Breeze was there taking pictures. The prosecutor seized about 1,000 photos, including many entirely irrelevant ones, but almost immediately gave them back because they had been seized improperly. After various negotiations, Garst apologized and had to narrow down her request to only the photos relating to eight specific incidents—just 20 photos.

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  • Out of 1,000 James Madison University Student Newspaper Photos Seized Improperly by Virginia Prosecutor, She Gets 20

    June 2, 2010

    In April, I reported that Rockingham County, Virginia, prosecutor Marsha Garst had sent a large group of police officers to the offices of James Madison University (JMU) student newspaper The Breeze with an improper warrant to seize photographs of the annual Springfest party near campus. The party had drawn about 8,000 people—students and non-students—and caused quite a bit of public disorder, including violence. There were dozens of arrests, and The Breeze was there taking pictures. The prosecutor seized about 1,000 photos, including many entirely irrelevant ones, but almost immediately gave them back because they had been seized improperly. This Tuesday, […]

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  • 1,000 James Madison University Student Newspaper Photos Seized Improperly by Virginia Prosecutor

    April 20, 2010

    She’s no Mike Nifong, but Rockingham County, Virginia, prosecutor Marsha Garst has something to answer for. Ten days ago, the annual Springfest party near James Madison University (JMU) drew about 8,000 people—students and non-students—and quite a bit of public disorder. There was violence. There also were dozens of arrests, such as for “failure to disperse” from an “unlawful assembly.” The JMU student newspaper, The Breeze, was there as well, taking pictures. Last Friday, these pictures, along with many other unrelated ones, were seized by Garst with a large group of police officers who descended upon The Breeze with what appears to […]

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