Sometimes it’s not a good idea to break out your cell phone and start taking pictures.

Rarely in court. And never when the witness to a suspected murder is testifying.

But that’s just what happened Tuesday during a preliminary hearing for Latroy Clinton, 39, of Santa Rosa.

While Keith Quinn, 20, testified about the slaying of his friend Oscar Valencia, 23, on a Santa Rosa street earlier this year, a  Clinton family member produced a pink phone and began taking pictures.

Courtroom deputies pounced, removing the woman and taking her phone.

The head of court security, Sgt. Eric Thomson, said an investigation was ongoing to decide whether to bring charges of witness intimidation.

The fear was she may have taken a picture of Quinn.

“People seem to think they have a right to record anything on their cell phones,” Thomson said. “It’s definitely not appropriate in court.”

Thomson said it’s hardly the first time it’s happened, but it’s not often a person has the gall to take a picture during murder proceedings.

Meanwhile, the woman, who was not arrested and identified herself as Josie, said she only intended to photograph Clinton, who was seated at the defense table in a blue jail uniform. His back was to the audience.

“I just wanted a picture of my brother-in-law,” she said.


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