CA Court Tosses Out 14 Charges Against Pro-life Journalist Who Exposed Planned Parenthood’s Baby Part Market
14 down, 1 to go
In March, California’s Attorney General slapped David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, with a whopping fifteen felony charges.
Daleiden and Merritt, by way of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), released several horrifying undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the price of aborted baby parts.
I discussed those charges at length and concluded the only charge that might have some legitimacy was the last charge which addressed Merritt and Daleiden’s use of an expired employee ID to login to the Stem Expresses system.
Wednesday, San Francisco’s Superior Court dismissed the first fourteen charges against Merritt, finding them legally insufficient.
Life News reports:
The San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday dismissed 14 of 15 criminal counts but the pair are still charged with one count of conspiracy to invade privacy. However the court dismissed the charges with leave to amend — meaning Becerra could re-file the charges with additional supposed evidence against the pair.
The court ruled that counts 1-14 were legally insufficient. The state has the opportunity to amend if it can plead a more legally sufficient and specific complaint. The California’s Attorney General filed 15 criminal counts against Merritt, with counts 1-14 for each of the alleged interviews and count 15 for an alleged conspiracy. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite gave the state attorney general’s office until mid-July to file a revised complaint.
It’s worth reiterating that California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, has received hefty donations from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
Life News continued:
In a statement to LifeNews, pro-life attorney Mat Svaer of LibertyCounsel, representing Merritt, said, “This is a huge victory to have 14 criminal counts dismissed.”
“We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count. Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California Attorney General is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel argued that the criminal complaint for illegally recording supposedly “private” conversations (in restaurants, hotel lobbies and other public places) – the first ever filed against undercover journalists – was legally deficient for numerous reasons, not the least of which was the Attorney General’s decision to prosecute Merritt in secret proceedings, without identifying even the names of her accusers or purported “victims.” The complaint did not provide Merritt with the minimum notice required by the Constitution and California law as to what she supposedly did wrong, so that she can mount a proper and vigorous defense. The complaint was also vague and full of inconsistencies.
“Today we asked the San Francisco Superior Court to dismiss these outrageous and baseless charges against Sandra Merritt, and the court agreed to dismiss 14 of the 15 counts” said Horatio Mihet, Liberty Counsel’s Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel, who appeared with Sandra in court today. “Sandra did not break any law and the criminal complaint against her is legally deficient, vague and full of inconsistencies. No other citizen journalist or organization has ever been charged with a crime for undercover recordings,” said Mihet.
Similar charges filed against Daleiden in Texas were dropped last summer.
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