Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Maria Shriver Breaks the Law, and Her Husband Signs a Law That Would Make It Illegal to Take Photos of Her Violation

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, was recently caught by photographers breaking a California law against talking on a cell phone while driving:

Maria Maria, cell phone cheatah! It appears Maria Shriver broke the law prohibiting driving under the influence of a cell phone -- a law her hubby supported and signed into law last year.

Kaleefornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger apparently can't lay down the law in his own home. Maria was photographed twice driving her car while holding her cell phone -- most recently last Sunday in Los Angeles.

Had Shriver been busted, she would have owed the bankrupt state of California $20 plus fees for the first offense ... $50 plus fees for the second. BTW, we need every dime we can get.

Of course I was reminded of the story of Chicago alderman Tom Tunney, who voted for a ban on talking on cell phones while driving, then was pulled over by a policeman for violating the law. In his case, after having his license taken away (per the law for which Mr. Tunney voted), a policeman returned it to him later that day:

The license was returned Friday after Tunney called Town Hall District Cmdr. Gary Yamashiroya to tell him about the ticketing earlier in the day -- which Tunney said he didn't dispute.
Tunney said he called the commander to inform him of the ticket. The alderman works closely with Yamashiroya on issues pertaining to Wrigley Field. "I called the commander and said, 'This is what happened.' And he suggested, 'The least I can do is return your driver's license to you.'" Tunney said an officer -- not the one who ticketed him -- brought the license to his ward office, and he had to sign an affidavit with conditions for getting the license back. Yamashiroya was on vacation and couldn't be reached Monday, department spokeswoman Monique Bond said. The returning of the license to Tunney's office will be reviewed, Bond said. But she said there have been "extenuating circumstances" where citizens -- average citizens -- were allowed to pay a ticket and get their license back at police stations. "It has to be very, very extenuating -- [such as] someone has to go out of the country," Bond said.

But we all know that some laws do not apply equally to everyone, right?

What I find even more interesting than the fact that Ms. Shriver violated an obtrusive law her husband signed is the fact that Mr. Schwarzenegger has also recently signed a law that will make it illegal to take photos of his wife violating the cell phone ban:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new bill into law Sunday that will fine paparazzi for taking photos that invade a celebrity's right to privacy. The law also targets media outlets who purchase the photos.

Throngs of photographers often jockey to get the perfect shot of a celebrity, but that doesn't mean it's welcomed. Britney Spears famously had enough one night, taking an umbrella to a photographer's SUV.
The new California law makes it a crime to take and sell unauthorized photos of celebrities in "personal or familial activity." Violators face fines up to $50,000. The anti-paparazzi amendment takes effect in January.

Britney Spears also, famously, violated California's car seat law by putting her son on her lap as she drove on the freeway. Photos of that act would also be illegal under the new law:

But you remember that Ms. Spears wasn't punished for that violation:

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department did not pursue the case against Spears, because the offense requires that an officer witness it and that didn't happen.

I'm not exactly a fan of the "paparazzi," but-- just so we're clear: when January rolls around, Ms. Shriver will be able to violate the cell phone ban to her heart's content, and Ms. Spears can feel free to not use a car seat, and neither need worry about anyone snapping photos of them. Because the taking of the photos will be a violation of state law. I guess that's just one more reason why it's better to be a celebrity than not.

(By the way-- if there's now a law against taking photos of celebrities in "personal or familial activity," what about all those red light cameras? Those things take photos of celebrities engaged in personal activity. Will it now be illegal for automatic cameras to snap photos of celebrities any time they run a red light?)

Britney Spears car seat pic source.

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