After wrangling among celebrities, news organizations and even the movie industry itself, the Golden State has decided to give stars an even greater private space, in this case new protections from Hollywood photographers, nee the paparazzi, who try to take pictures of famous kids — a measure that Gordon Firemark, an attorney and Southwestern Law School adjunct professor, recently has turned his spotlight on
As he points out, state Senator State Sen. Kevin de Leon, the Democrat from the 22nd District, got the legislature to amend California Penal Code § 11414, making it a crime for paparazzi to photograph children of celebrities in certain circumstances. The new law takes effect in January and carries steep penalties: First offenders could be charged up to $10,000 and face jail time. A second offense comes with a five-day jail sentence and up to a $20,000 fine. That third strike nets offenders 30-days in jail and a $30,000 fine. Parents also can file a civil suits seeking punitive damages.
Firemark questions whether this measure is constitutional, how and whether it will be enforced and if news and entertainment organizations need to issue guidelines to their photographers to stay on the right side of this pending law.
The de Leon amendment already has attracted its share of attention from celebrities (actresses Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner — as shown in the Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press, photo testifying before de Leon’s committee in Sacramento — and Sandra Bullock) media and, surprisingly, the movie industry and children’s advocates. California already had crafted novel and controversial anti-paparazzi statutes and these may be spreading to other locales.