July 26, 2012- On Wednesday, the city attorney’s office in Los Angeles announced that a paparazzo who had allegedly pursued Justin Bieber, the teen pop idol, in a chase that reached high speeds would be charged. This will be the first case that falls under the states harsher, new anti-paparazzi law.
Freelance photographer Paul Raef was charged with not obeying the order of a peace officer, reckless driving, following another car too closely and reckless driving in an attempt to capture photos for a commercial gain.
Raef could spend a year in jail for the charges and fines that could total $3,500. Raef is due to appear in court on August 9. The new law imposes penalties that are much stiffer including possible time behind bars for photographers who block sidewalks or drive recklessly while pursuing celebrities.
The new law was signed in 2010 by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The law was objected to strongly by news organization, saying there are already reckless driving laws in existence.
On July 6, Bieber received a citation for driving recklessly and in excess of the speed limit. The photographer, who was one of many in pursuit of the star, evaded police when Bieber was hauled over.
A City Councilman is the person who called 911 to tell them paparazzi were in pursuit of Bieber. The Councilman said he understands that celebrities are pursued by paparazzo, but that does not give celebrities the right to drive unsafely.