Mariposa County, Calif., court officials withdrew an order that would have required reporters covering the upcoming trial of Yosemite Park killer Cary Stayner to get criminal background checks. Local TV and print media had been told that, to be credentialed, reporters covering the trial would submit to fingerprinting and provide photos.
"This is the first I've heard of this being done," said Mike Hartman, managing editor at KSEE-TV Fresno, Calif. "But we decided to go ahead and do it. We thought about raising an objection but decided that would take more time than it was worth. Our reporters had no objections." KSEE-TV had planned to credential as many as 10 reporters and cameramen.
Apparently, 48 reporters from all media had complied with the request. But the print media, led by the Associated Press, objected and raised constitutional grounds, prompting the withdrawal. Court officials told AP that reporters' information would be returned unreviewed and that any unclaimed sealed information would be destroyed.