Colorado Judge Orders Paper to Turn Over Unpublished Photos to Police

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(AP) The Durango Herald said it will fight a judge’s order demanding the newspaper’s unpublished photographs of a fatal shooting downtown.

District Attorney Craig Westberg said the photos are needed because the police did not document the crime scene themselves, and the unpublished photos could help identify additional witnesses. The newspaper received a subpoena Tuesday.

“Newspapers cannot be agents of law enforcement,” said Herald Publisher Richard G. Ballantine. “If they were, at times people would not be open to being interviewed or to being photographed, and a story would not be as thorough or as compelling. That reporting based on our reputation is our community role.”

Prosecutors want to use the photos at Richard Keith Edwards’ May 24 preliminary hearing. He is accused in the April 14 slaying of Lori “Star” Sutherland

Edwards allegedly admitted shooting Sutherland, police said.

Chris Beall, the Denver media lawyer representing the Herald, said given the confession he can’t see why the photos are absolutely necessary.

Judges nationwide have ruled that newspapers only have to turn over information that is crucial the case and isn’t available from any other source, he said.

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