When Christos Catsouras arrived at the horrific accident scene, his 18-year-old daughter pinned somewhere in the crumpled remains of his black Porsche, officers from the California Highway Patrol kept him behind the police tape.
Later, when officers drove from the crash site on the 241 toll road in Lake Forest to his home in Ladera Ranch, Catsouras asked of his daughter Nikki, “Did she get hurt?''
“She's unidentifiable,” a CHP officer told him, according to his account. “You can't see her body.”
Days later, at the click of a computer mouse, strangers from around the world were able to see, in high-resolution color, graphic pictures of Nikki's decapitated remains — the result, the CHP later admitted, of two employees improperly leaking the images onto the Internet.
Today, in a continuing saga that has garnered national attention, lawyers for the Catsouras family filed an appeal in the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana. The family seeks to overturn a judge's dismissal in March of their civil lawsuit against the CHP and two dispatchers.
This story is in my neck of the woods and has been on-going for close to 2 years now. Read about it and tell me what you think - should the CHP be held monetarily accountable for the leaking of the photos to the public? For what it's worth, I say no. The crash occurred on a public road in public view and there was no expectation of privacy. The two department employees who were responsible for leaking the photos were disciplined and that's where it should end. Yes, what has happened to the family is tragic but, again, the photos were not theirs in the first place.