Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Contempt Case Won't Die

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Contempt Case Won't Die

Article excerpt

Santa Cruz, Calif. newspaper waits for final ruling

When a judge slapped a contempt-of-court charge on the Santa Cruz County (Calif.) Sentinel last month for publishing details of a supposedly confidential juvenile court case, editor Tom Honig thought the issue would be resolved quickly once it was proven that the story had caused no harm.

Indeed, the paper eventually showed that the story about Mark Mendez and Rhonda Mastropaolo, published June 24, had not hurt their efforts to get custody of their infant child after Santa Cruz County officials placed the baby in foster care.

In hearings after the filing of the civil contempt charges, the county Child Protective Services agency and its governing body, the county Board of Supervisors, each urged the court to drop the charges against the newspaper, one of its reporters, and Mendez, contending that the newspaper had not affected the custody case.

The final proof came two weeks ago when the parents regained custody of the infant.

But that has not stopped the court's efforts to see its contempt charge through.

"I really am displeased with the kind of justice we have been getting in this case," says Honig. …

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