An Arizona court sided with State Senator Wendy Rogers’s complaint against Camryn Sanchez and Arizona Capitol Times. As a result, Justice of the Peace Amy Criddle barred the reporter and the newspaper from approaching the senator at her home. According to KAWC, the Injunction Against Harassment order was issued on April 19, 2023, and Sanchez was served the following day.
The essence of the case was to block the Arizona Capitol Times journalist from investigating whether or not the senator actually lives where she claims. Rogers, a Republican, serves the 7th Legislative District (LD7) and must live within its boundaries while serving in the state legislature. The location of her actual residence has been under scrutiny for the last few years.
According to Arizona Daily Independent, the senator and her husband, Harold Kunnen, own at least three homes. This includes a Steller City Airpark property in Chandler purchased in January. Its current market value (CMV) is $750,000.
That property’s Deed of Trust lists them as living in their Tempe home with a CMV of $665,000. Their Flagstaff property, the senator’s declared residence, is a 700-square-foot, 36-year-old manufactured home on a small lot.
Sanchez and other reporters renewed their inquiry into the senator’s residency claim after the Chandler home’s Deed of Trust was filed in early February. Arizona Daily Independent reported, “Even more attention will be drawn to Rogers’ residency now that Justice of the Peace Amy Criddle issued the IAH order against Sanchez.”
Baseless Injunction Against Arizona Journalist
Arizona Revised Statute 12-1089 defines harassment as a “series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person, and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed.” Additionally, the statute indicates the alleged conduct must also be found to serve “no legitimate purpose.”
Senator Rogers went beyond trying to restrict the journalist from going to any of the senator’s multiple residences. She also asked the court to restrain Sanchez from access to the Arizona Senate. Rogers’ requests show that the petition and injunction had little to do with her safety. Instead, it was about Rodgers silencing the press in direct opposition to the 1st Amendment.
Arizona Capitol Times, Sanchez’s employer, intends to challenge the injunction on her behalf “because it is baseless and unconstitutional prior restraint against a reporter investigating public allegations involving the senator.” But, of course, news reporters have the right to investigate elected officials, which is exactly what Camryn Sanchez has been doing.
Freedom of the Press Foundation strongly opposes cases like Sanchez’s: “Journalists under any definition of the word and entitled to the full protection of the First Amendment.”
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
KAWC News: Judge grants Roger’s request for restraining order against AZ Capitol Times reporter; by Howard Fischer
Arizona Capitol Times: Arizona Capitol Times responds to injunction against reporter
Arizona Daily Independent News Network: Rogers’ Use Of Court System To Keep Reporter From Doing Job Raises Questions; by Terri Jo Neff