SFPD Raid on Journalist’s Home Goes Before Judge

A journalist whose home was raided by police as part of a leak investigation stemming from the death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi is taking the SFPD to court

Attorneys for Bryan Carmody have asked a judge to void the warrants police used to enter his home in search of the source who provided him with confidential documents on Adachi’s death. He also wants all 68 confiscated items returned by police.

“It is black-letter constitutional law that a reporter cannot be held liable, criminally or civilly, for receiving, possessing or publishing truthful information on matters of public concern merely because government officials were supposed to keep the information secret,” Carmody’s attorneys, Thomas R. Burke and Daniel Laidman, wrote in the motion filed with the San Francisco County Superior Court. The document cites a number of legal statutes including the Privacy Protection Act and the state’s Shield Law.

Adachi died in February. Documents obtained by Carmody and subsequently shared with local news outlets revealed he died in the presence of another woman who is not his wife and that drugs and alcohol were involved. Adachi’s family and members of the Board of Supervisors believe that information was leaked by someone within the SFPD as an act of retaliation. Adachi was a longtime critic of police misconduct and the practices of SFPD generally.

According to Carmody, police handcuffed him and held him for several hours in an attempt to get him to divulge his source. He refused.

All parties are due back in court on June 10 for the scheduling of a hearing. On Tuesday, SFPD said they were returning the confiscated items to Carmody.