On Wednesday, a California court rightly dismissed charges filed against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the citizen journalists who released shocking undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives selling aborted babies’ body parts for profit. In March of this year, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against Daleiden and Merritt, claiming that they violated the privacy of the criminals they caught on camera. This week, a judge in the San Francisco Superior Court dismissed 14 of the 15 charges. According to National Review, the judge will still consider the single remaining charge, which is against Merritt only and is for conspiring to invade privacy.
The judge’s decision to dismiss the majority of the charges is a victory for journalists and free speech rights, and a significant victory for the Center for Medical Progress. The journalists have been continually smeared by the abortion industry as criminals who gained access illicitly and “deceptively edited” the content of the undercover videos. Forensic evidence has proven that the videos were not tampered with, but the felony charges lent credence to the abortion industry’s smear campaign. This is not the first time Daleiden and Merritt have faced such charges. Last year, disgraced former District Attorney Devon Anderson of Harris County filed similar felony charges, which were also dismissed.
The latest developments in the California case counteract collusion and a grave miscarriage of justice. Pro-Life groups have noted that Becerra is a longtime abortion activist who reaped donations from Planned Parenthood during his time as a Democratic congressman. The bogus charges seemed requested by the abortion executives whose criminal enterprise was uncovered by the Center for Medical Progress.
Unfortunately, the judge’s decision to dismiss the charges is not final. According to Life News:
The court ruled that counts 1-14 were legally insufficient. The state has the opportunity to amend if it can plead a more legally sufficient and specific complaint. California’s Attorney General filed 15 criminal counts against Merritt, with counts 1-14 for each of the alleged interviews and count 15 for an alleged conspiracy. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite gave the state attorney general’s office until mid-July to file a revised complaint.
Merritt’s legal counsel remains optimistic that the final charge will be dismissed. Horatio Mihet, Liberty Counsel’s Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel, who appeared with Merritt, explained, “Sandra did not break any law and the criminal complaint against her is legally deficient, vague, and full of inconsistencies. No other citizen journalist or organization has ever been charged with a crime for undercover recordings.”
Texas Right to Life congratulates Daleiden and Merritt on their latest step toward victory in the courts. Without their courageous undercover work, Americans would not know about the extensive criminal enterprise taking place at taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood. Once Daleiden and Merritt are finally vindicated, we hope the next legal steps will be to prosecute the real criminals, Planned Parenthood.