Lawsuit over leaked decapatiation photos moves one step closer to jury trial

The OC Register reports:

A judge Monday allowed a lawsuit to proceed against a California Highway Patrol dispatcher in a high-profile case about graphic accident photos leaked onto the Internet.

A second dispatcher, however, was removed as a defendant in the complaint.

In separate rulings that keep alive the possibility of a jury trial against the CHP, Judge Steven L. Perk ruled that the alleged conduct of dispatch supervisor Thomas ODonnell was not protected by his constitutional right of free speech – as his attorneys argued.

Relatives of Nicole “Nikki” Catsouras sued the CHP, ODonnell and another dispatcher, Aaron Reich, after the agency took responsibility for improperly releasing the grisly images to the public. Accident-scene photos are supposed to be used only for investigative purposes.

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