In the first case to be filed under the anti-paparazzi law passed in 2010, Justin Bieber was given a speeding ticket and the photographer who was chasing him on July 6th down the 101 freeway in L.A. was charged with reckless driving.
David Zine, a city councilman, saw the chase happen and called the cops:
"Any time you do 90, the paparazzi are going to go 90," said Zine. "He was going from the fast lane to the slow lane to the shoulder in traffic. It was a very dangerous driving situation. I figured someone was going to crash, so I called 911."
The anti-paparazzi law deals out heavy penalties—including jail time—to photographers who block sidewalks or drive recklessly while pursuing celebrities. In this case, the photographer was caught for being stupid enough to follow Bieber again, this time in to a parking garage. Biebs called the police and gave them the pap’s license plate number, which matched the number of one of the highway chase cars.
The reckless driving charge carries a fine of up to $3,500 and one year in jail. The pap in question is named Paul Raef, and his arraignment was scheduled for today but was postponed.
In an exclusive statement to Hollyscoop, Raef’s lawyer David S. Kestenbaum said:
"It is unfair that Justin Bieber only got a speeding ticket and my client was charged with reckless driving. We are going to challenge the law, based on the grounds that the law violates his First Amendment right to freedom of the press. We are challenging the constitutionality of the law that goes after paparazzi in such an incident. The law could not only apply to paparazzi, but also to reporters and anyone else in the media as well. We haven't entered a plea yet until we file a demur."
The fact that Kestenbaum and a bunch of news organizations are arguing that the law violates the press’ First Amendment freedoms is ridiculous considering how much the paparazzi impede upon the rights of celebrities to walk around, drive a car, or eat dinner without being stalked, chased and harassed. If Princess Diana’s death taught anyone anything, the paparazzi would have calmed down when it comes to high speed highway chases. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem they’ve learned.