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First Amendment Not Just for Lingerie Ads


To Nick Welsh: How is it that you have no problem affording [Officer] Kasi Beutel the presumption of innocence, yet you freely refer to [reporter] Peter Lance in a manner that presumes guilt? You do so with a reckless disregard for the truth: Nobody, not even the police, ever even hinted or suggested that Mr. Lance ever fell asleep behind the wheel of his car.

You also misstate that “all police cars once had cameras.” Obviously you did not do any research before going to press with that lie. Even in agencies like the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol, who have cameras in a lot of cars, or even most of their cars, there are not cameras in “all of the cars.”

And to say that the First Amendment exists primarily for lingerie ads is patently offensive, and just plain ignorant. If it were not for freedom of speech, you, sir, would be jobless.

You seem also to have a problem with the amount of quotes Mr. Lance got from me. I know you did not research the fact that almost all the local lawyers were reluctant to be quoted by name; and obviously the fact that I am the only lawyer in the county whose practice is exclusive to driving under the influence eluded you, even though my ad almost always runs immediately opposite your Angry Poodle commentary. I guess you only read your own writing. You should know that I—who represent Mr. Lance—also advertise in your paper that it is not illegal in California to drive after drinking, yet you imply that such conduct by itself is criminal.

Editor's Note: A police spokesperson said Lance was pulled over because he appeared to have fallen asleep, as Welsh stated. An incident report said he did not respond to the green light and "was looking down at his lap."

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