State of Virginia will pay $10,000 in legal dispute with James Madison University's student newspaper
June 2, 2010
Harrisonburg's top prosecutor said this morning that the state will pay $10,000 in legal fees that James Madison University's student newspaper incurred while arguing against a seizure of staff photographs that documented a riot in April.
In exchange, The Breeze has provided Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst with 20 photos to aid in her prosecution of rioters during Springfest on April 10. Police that day used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse a crowd of as many as 8,000 college-aged adults at an annual off-campus block party near JMU. Dozens were arrested and several people, including Harrisonburg police officers, were injured, authorities said.
Garst said Virginia's Division of Risk Management will pay $10,000 to the Washington law firm that represented The Breeze after she and officers raided the newsroom of more than 900 photos on April 16 despite Editor Katie Thisdell's objections.
After the raid, a third-party held the images while The Breeze mounted a defense against the seizure.