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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    NY
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    48

    Default Using a Picture of a Judge With a Press Release

    I am sending out a Press Release for a client. It pertains to a "pro se" motion he has filed with a state Superior Court. In short, he is requesting an investigation into his criminal trial citing serious issues as to the fundamental fairness of the trial, the partiality of the trial judge, the sufficiency of the evidence, police misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, judicial misconduct as well as conspiracy, obstruction of justice, fraud and coercion on the part of the Judge. Many of these accusations can be substantiated via court transcripts, etc.
    My question is - Can I safely use a photo of this judge within the press release, as his photo will garner a lot more interest than merely mentioning his name. His photo appears multiple times on-line and this is where I obtained it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,340

    Default Re: Use of a Judge's Photo on a Press Release

    I suggest you consult a defamation attorney before you even post the press release because unless your "client" is willing and able to file an appeal to get his conviction overturned all you've got are unsubstantiated allegations and a public rant about the "injustice of it all" isn't going to do you or your client any good and could even get you sued.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    NY
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    48

    Default Re: Use of a Judge's Photo on a Press Release

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, but I think my wording misled you. I am not an attorney - I am a graphic artist and my client (who is incarcerated) asked me to compose a Press Release, using portions of his petition that has been filed with the court. As I mentioned, the allegations are not unsubstantiated; most of his accusations are substantiated by court transcripts and affidavits. Although he is filing "pro se" - an attorney helped him to put together and file the motion. I am merely helping him announce it to the media.
    My only question is: is there a problem with me using the judge's photo which appears throughout the internet?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    8,006

    Default Re: Use of a Judge's Photo on a Press Release

    When you say they are substantiated, are you an expert on criminal law who has reviewed the entire transcript and evidence or are you just going off your client's word? The fact that things didn't go his way do not necessarily mean the court erred in any way, plus it may have been right and he just doesn't understand why.

    If you don't know for sure, you are opening yourself up to being caught in the crapstorm that could come down on him.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Use of a Judge's Photo on a Press Release

    So you are using another's photo regardless of their copyrights in the photo? Given your statement of you being a graphic artist you surely must understand the problem with copyright infringement here.

    that of course is an issue you alone would be facing and is separate from any other issues you may have.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Use of a Judge's Photo on a Press Release

    Quote Quoting blazer217
    View Post
    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, but I think my wording misled you. I am not an attorney - I am a graphic artist and my client (who is incarcerated) asked me to compose a Press Release, using portions of his petition that has been filed with the court. As I mentioned, the allegations are not unsubstantiated;
    They are "unsubstantiated" until a judge says they aren't.

    Until then they are just the rant of a criminal who lost his case and got convicted.

    Quote Quoting blazer217
    View Post
    Although he is filing "pro se" - an attorney helped him to put together and file the motion.
    Then he should wait until his motion is heard and ruled upon.

    A public rant at this point is just going to alienate judges and nobody's going to take him seriously.

    Quote Quoting blazer217
    View Post
    My only question is: is there a problem with me using the judge's photo which appears throughout the internet?
    No worse a problem than the press release itself.

    Word of caution: Once you have completed it, keep your name off it and send it to your client so he can release it. You do not want this to come back and haunt you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    8,238

    Default Re: Use of a Judge's Photo on a Press Release

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    No worse a problem than the press release itself.
    Sure there is. Using the photo adds the potential problem of copyright infringement if the OP and his client do not have permission from the copyright holder to use it.

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