Portland’s KPTV has had to defend itself against a contempt of court accusation after the Fox-affiliate aired video of an ongoing murder trial that included images of jurors involved in the case.
Like other local stations, KPTV has been closely following the trial of David French (right), a transgendered Portland man accused of killing his roommate with a pickaxe. The judge in the case had instructed members of the media to avoid capturing images of the jurors and KPTV has wound up in trouble, according to The Oregonian, when it aired video that showed the profile of one juror and the back of the head of another.
After both the defense and the prosecution complained that the jurors’ decision-making could be affected after KPTV revealed identifying details about them, the judge dismissed them from the trial.
“It’s no fault whatsoever of yours,” the judge told the two jurors in dismissing them. “What happened was Channel 12, the person operating the video, in their enthusiasm to photograph the defendant while testifying, caught glimpses of you.”
After speaking with KPTV’s news director as well as the reporter who recorded the video, the judge eventually decided that he wouldn’t pursue a contempt of court charge.
“We apologized to the court,” news director Patrick McCreery said. “It was an error, and we regret the error.”