Here at Patch, we are committed to an open and honest dialogue with you, our readers, about the news and issues facing our community. When Patch itself becomes part of news coverage, it’s even more important to us that we respond to your feedback.
Recently, Lamorinda Patch has been the subject of attention for an article on the Michael Merrick molestation case.
In response to Judge Clare Maier’s decision to bar the public from the trial, some have questioned whether our article included too much identifying information about the alleged victim. Assistant District Attorney Johanna Schonfield has said Lamorinda Patch's Dec. 9 story was the reason she asked the judge to ban the public from the courtroom. Schonfield called Lamorinda Patch’s journalism “irresponsible.” In addition, a private attorney hired by the alleged victim’s family said our story was “reckless and insensitive.”
We felt it was important to note that no one has said Lamorinda Patch got its facts wrong in the story, which was based on a public document obtained from Contra Costa County Superior Court. In fact, Lamorinda Patch avoided using information that was not redacted by police that would have made identification of the victim possible.
Lamorinda Patch disagrees with the assertion that its reporting of a high-profile case is justification for closing that case to public scrutiny. Doing so undermines public confidence in our judicial system.
Patch stands by our story and our decision to publish it.
Clarification: This story was updated to clarify that the Dec. 9 story was based on a publicly available document.