Since this link will disappear soon, I've included the text.
Galveston photographer acquitted of interfering with police
By HARVEY RICE
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
GALVESTON — A Galveston County Daily News
photographer has been acquitted of interfering with police after a jury heard testimony that police deleted photos from his confiscated camera, an attorney said today.
A six-member jury on Wednesday acquitted photographer Nick Adams on charges he interfered with police while photographing an arrest during Mardi Gras on Feb. 10 last year, said Anthony Griffin, hired by the Daily News
to represent Adams.
Adams was hurled to the ground and both of his $4,000 cameras were damaged.
"It's a victory for the First Amendment," Daily News
Editor Heber Taylor said. "We just cannot understand why the photographs that were taken that would have shown Nick's relationship to that police line ... disappeared and why those were the only images that disappeared."
Taylor said the newspaper was not asking for special consideration, but defending the right of anyone to take photographs in a public place.
Galveston County Court No. 2 Judge C.G. Dibrell III presided over the three-day trial.
Griffin said that evidence showing that two images were deleted from Adam's camera following his arrest helped convince the jury to acquit.
Interim police Chief Phillip Morris, who as a captain participated in Adam's arrest, denied in an interview that he or any officer deleted the images. "I'm certain that no photos were deleted by us," Morris said.
He said he accidentally took several photos by pressing a button he thought would turn off the camera.
Adams, reached by phone in California where he is employed by the Marysville Appeal-Democrat
, said erasing the two missing images was a complex operation requiring several steps that could not have been done accidentally.
Griffin said the erasures were a crime that should be investigated.
"To say that we are outraged that this case was ever prosecuted doesn't do justice to the word outrage," Taylor said.
District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said in an e-mail that his office offered to reduce the charge to a disorderly conduct charge, the same as a traffic ticket, if Adams pleaded guilty, but he refused.
Griffin said Adams refused because a free-speech issue was at stake and police had erased evidence.
Sistrunk there was probable cause to prosecute and that the jury deliberated almost five hours. He did not say whether the erasure of the images had been or would be investigated.
Adams said that he was outside the police line when he raised his camera to photograph the arrest and League City Police Officer Clifford Woitena, who was assisting Galveston police, pushed the camera into Adams's face while ordering him not to take photographs.
Adams said he stepped back from the officer and that Woitena stepped toward him to keep the same distance. Adams identified himself as photographer and protested after Woitena prevented him from taking photos a second time, he said.
Woitena then shouted that Adams was assaulting an officer and hurled the photographer to the ground, jamming his knee forcefully into Adams' face.
Woitena testified that he did not see Adams' two, bulky cameras, that Adams failed to identify himself and that he tried to force his way through the police line.