SPJ Georgia releases statement on Nydia Tisdale case

Citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale has been cleared of the most serious charges stemming from her arrest at a Republican rally in North Georgia, but has been ordered by a judge to pay a $1,000 fine, serve 12 months probation and complete community service owing to a misdemeanor obstruction charge.

Below is SPJ Georgia’s official statement on the ruling:

“SPJ Georgia finds it outrageous that this case was ever prosecuted. This sentence is an ominous sign for the state of press freedoms in this country. We will continue to support her while her attorneys appeal this unjust sentence.”

The 54-year-old Tisdale has been acquitted of felony obstruction and misdemeanor criminal trespassing, all of which stemmed from a 2014 arrest at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.

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There is one comment

  1. Ralph Garner

    As a member of SPJ/GA, I am grateful for the statement that “SPJ Georgia finds it outrageous that this case was ever prosecuted.” It truly galls me that Ms.Tisdale’s sentence was considered on a “first offender” basis. Judge Martha Christian should examine her own motives for NOT disregarding the Dawson County jury’s finding. (The horrific incident took place in Dawson County.) This was a golden opportunity for Judge Christian to stand strong for transparency in government (the videoing of our top elected officials conducting a campaign rally) and the First Amendment, as well as other Constitutional safeguards, such as false arrest. Instead she decided to lockstep with other Appalachian Judicial Circuit superior court judges, such as Brenda Weaver and those of her ilk.
    The appeal process will take time and will be costly, but this matter needs to fought to the upper limits of our American court system. I believe Ms. Tisdale will be vindicated — so ridiculous is the charge for which she was found guilty.
    Moreover, I trust the matter involving Judge Christian’s colleague, Judge Brenda Weaver — her false arrest on trumped-up charges of newspaper publisher Mark Thomason and his attorney for using Open Records requests and subpoenas in their attempt to access the taxpayer-funded operating budget of the Appalachian District Superior Court — will see the mill of a courtroom in the new year.
    So much depends on little red wagons like the Society of Professional Journalists, even here in Georgia.

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