Skip to comments.Fox News Reporter Faces Judge Over Refusal to Reveal Sources — Will the First Amendment Win Out?
Posted on 04/01/2013 6:53:26 PM PDT by Texas Fossil
UPDATE (AP) A hearing on whether a reporter should be ordered to testify about how she obtained confidential information in the Colorado theater shooting case is being continued until next week.
New York-based Fox News reporter Jana Winter cited anonymous law enforcement officials in reporting that suspect James Holmes had sent a psychiatrist a notebook of drawings that foreshadowed the July 20 attack.
Prosecutors and Holmes lawyers argued about the issue in court Monday, but the defense wants to again question a detective about whether he might have told someone else about the notebook, who may have then talked to Winter.
The judge agreed and scheduled another hearing for April 10. He raised the possibility that Winters source was from outside Colorado, and not subject to the cases gag order.
(Excerpt) Read more at theblaze.com ...
There will be no trial, perp is dead, but the Gov cannot stand daylight.
Correction: The perp is not dead. I was thinking about wrong case.
Still this is anti 1st Amendment.
If this was Media Matters, the judge wouldn’t squawk. He just doesn’t like Fox.
Can’t let out the detail that the theater shooter sent his shrink a detailed diagram of his plan and that the shrink only got him banned from campus.
That might cause people to think a failed mental health system was more of the cause than the guns.
Our evil government has kept this secret for political reasons. If he was an NRA member, a TEA party member, etc,, you can safely know that law enforcement would have released that detail quickly.
How do these, “special privileges,” that journalists get pass 14th Amendment muster? If the average citizen doesn’t have these rights, how come journalists get them?
I don’t read anything about concealing sources in amendment one. I have no idea what freedom of the press is that’s not covered by free speech, though, so your guess is as good as mine. My instinct is to subject them to the same standards as everyone else for when they have to answer the cops and when they tell them to sick an egg.
I never much liked secret sources, either. It tends to turn news into gossip, especially since your source could be made up, who knows? Not that I don’t realize it’s necessary for good dirt to be dug.
They reference Fox News and I also posted that article.
I think it is accurate.
If it was a “made up” source, the prosecution would not bother to discuss this.
There is no special privilege for journalists. You cannot be compelled to testify either. The only thing special here is that some nutty judge thinks he can force a journalist to explain something she reported, how she got the information, etc. They are doing it to try to hide government shennanigans.
This is classic 1st amendment.
As far as I’m concerned ALL the media have forfeited the right to their special treatment.
No, but I wasn’t limiting my commentary to this case. In that case the secret would be kept from the customer, your bosses, the competition, etc., instead of the law.
You can be compelled to testify, unless doing so would incriminate you. I imagine the law has standards for what sort of information qualifies. There’s always an argument to be made, however. Revealing a source wouldn’t seem to tend to do so, but you never know.
“nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,”
5th amendment,, can’t force anyone to testify against theirself. Can this journalist reasonably expect that the government might prosecute her? Easily.
and the answer to abuses of speech is more speech, not legal prior censorship of reporters by the goverment. A reminder that the Federalist papers and other writings of our founders were written under pseudonyms to protect themselves and for other reasons.
The problem here is that our government was hiding this amazing failure of the mental health system, a few months before the election, so they could better blame it on guns. ANd this reporter exposed their scam. Good for her.
What are you talking about? What does Fox News have to do with what is and is not covered by the first amendment?
There so many people who might have heard about that book it isn't funny.
Dollars to doughnuts there's more than one book.
The standard is that YOU get to decide what qualifies. If they want to force you they have exactly one option. Give you full immunity from prosecution.
A child can see 100 ways the government could prosecute the FOX reporter for reporting what they have hidden from us. All that has to happen is that the reporter has to say “i refuse to answer to the grounds that it might tend to incriminate me”.
The judge can then lock her up for contempt, and she can sit and let corporate lawyers start emergency lawsuits and writs to federal courts for her immediate release. She shouldnt say a word. She did a service to gun owners here.
However (playing devil’s advocate here) if they provide immunity from prosecution for her, she *must* testify.
Sure,,,just try it. The offer of immunity must be so broadly written for her to know that is a full protection that she can rely on it. Such an offer can never be that broad that the state would offer it. And this would cross state lines, and involves Obamas justice department.
How exactly does a Colorado -state- judge offer immunity for the FEDERAL prosecution that could also result from this womans success at undermining the Obama “guns are the problem” narrative” with her good reporting?
I suppose it’s possible her part of it broke some law, given how many laws there are to break. But seems to me she’s not being asked to testify against herself. She’s being asked to testify against her source. Has she invoked the fifth amendment, or is it all about freedom of the press? Because if she’s already claimed it’s about her right to conceal a source, then self-incrimination is beside the point.
“the answer to abuses of speech is more speech, not legal prior censorship”
I can’t follow your argument here.
There is a nice upside to this (again, devil’s advocate here) in that if this does hold up to further scrutiny, those lefties writing ‘sources say’ crap can then be compelled to testify as to who their sources were - or they they can be compelled to recant.
Personally, I really don’t see why we have a journalist shield concept for named authors. If you publish anonymously or under an obvious pseudonym, as the Federalist Papers were done, that’s one thing. But if you put your name on something, you’d best be able to back up your assertions. As it is right now, the shield is being abused to promote partisan attacks by the Left.
It has happened before. State and Federal DAs will give a writ of immunity to a critical witness. That checks all the boxes - and is common in Mafia cases, for example.
This is more interesting than a 1st Amendment case. The information came from a lawman, supposedly. How did the law get patient-doctor information? Did the state, either the law or the university, coerce the doctor to turn private communications over, or did the doctor breach her confidentiality agreement? How much did she tell the university to get this guy suspended from school?
How private is the doctor-patient relationship nowadays?
I don’t know if that’s true. Seems to me if witnesses could unilaterally decide not to testify on the off chance that maybe someday it could come back to bite them somehow, then there wouldn’t be such a thing as compelling testimony. And there’d be a lot fewer witnesses.
“A child can see 100 ways the government could prosecute the Fix reporter for reporting what they have hidden from us”
Maybe, but then her source wouldn’t doom her. They’d know she got the dirt somehow, because she reported it. The fact that they’re compelling her to testify about the source implies they’re going after the source, not her. You can say they could always backtracked and use her testimony against herself later. But, again, in that case the best evidence against her is the fact that she published the info, not who was her source.
It isn’t rocket science. If speech is somehow deemed “bad”,,,, the solution is other free speech countering it fully. Thats how a free society works. A totalitarian nation instead works to silence the speech it opposes. This wasnt the nuclear missile launch codes, this was that government was hiding the most proximate cause of the murders for political reasons.
And what was she doing with that source you think she should be compelled to testify against? They call it “conspiracy”. There are so many ways they can prosecute her it’s ridiculous. She should assert her 5th rights, refuse any immunity offers, and let FOX attorneys do their job.
She won’t be alone.
And she exposed a secret the government was hiding to keep the gun control train on schedule. They sure were happy to tell us about his AR-15, His Joker thing, the Bombs at his house, etc etc. The only little detail they were keeping secret was that the mental health professionals in his life should have intervened. But that didn’t help the gun control agenda here.
And she let the cat outta the bag.
“If they want to force you they have exactly one option. Give you full immunity from prosecution”
What world do you live in where only witnesses with immunity from prosecution can be compelled to testify? The court system would shut down were this the case. Or the granting of immunity would expand to absurd dimensions, making the business mostly worthless.
Fact is she will not be compelled to testify against herself; she will be asked to testify against her source. The judge would interpret refusal as protecting the source from incrimination, not herself, and she would be held in contempt of court.
That certainly isn’t rocket science, though what it has to do with my post and why you addressed the argument to me remains a mystery.
So the government has laws that tells us when something we say might incriminate us? How could they possibly even know what they don’t know? Maybe she was sleeping with the detective? Maybe she stole his laptop? The government cannot possibly know when something you say will incriminate you. They can only surmise based upon their investigation.
But the person may know something she would say that would incriminate her.
And as for the mafia, they catch you for one crime, and offer a deal. You testify for immunity, or face the charge they have you on.
Do they also have laws that say when we should open the door for a knock and talk? No, the individual possesses those rights.
What world do YOU live in? Almost every witness testifying today (besides cops, expert witnesses, etc) is there in one of two conditions. They are either voluntary (the majority), or offered a plea bargain for their own crimes, in exchange for testimony.
But the plea bargain crowd is free from forced testimony (assuming they are willing to opt instead to be tried for their own crime which they are trying to avoid)
Forced testimony is rather unusual because it is not easy to accomplish. It’s a last resort, and usually results in rather poor quality information. Sort of like if you force someone to cook you a meal. But it was very common in the USSR and Nazi Germany. It’s also in vogue in China.
“what was she doing with that source you think she should be compelled to testify against?”
I don’t really care. They could have been playing tiddlywinks.
“They call it ‘conspiracy’”
Conspiracy to do what? Break confidentiality? But the reporter wasn’t under any obligation to stay mum. That was the person with access to the information, and only they can decide to leak. Talking with them about it or publishing it after they do isn’t criminal.
“There are so many ways they can prosecute her it’s ridiculous”
I assume you say that because if the profligacy of laws. Isn’t there a book called “Three Felonies a Day,” referring to how everyone is breaking the law all the time? But think about this for a minute; truly think. If the law is so ridiculous and all of us are liable to be prosecuted for any old reason, how would you ever compel anyone to testify about anything? How would the criminal justice system work? Both’d be impossible.
It's hearsay, not admissible testimony. Sure, it sows doubt in the minds of those in the public following the story, but if the sourced doesn't want to risk the penalty of whistle-blowing but wants to get the word out, it's fair. All the judge has to do is not allow it to be part of any testimony. He doesn't need to compel the reporter to reveal anything that won't be used in the trial.
“it was very common in the USSR and Nazi Germany”
This sentence has finally made me sick of the internet. I quit.
Post 19,, you said you couldn’t follow the concept that the cure to speech you opposed, was more free speech rather than censorship.
Thats why i addressed the explanation to you. In hopes you might understand it.
No, there are special laws giving journalists special privileges. And the media goes crazy.
I’m interested in hearing more about the shooter’s muslim faith and reports that he is now claiming that the shooting was a part of his own personal jihad.
Was this a jailhouse conversion to Islam or had he already been radicalized?
Same outcome should be either way.
There is no defence for him.
If I understand you and your opponent, your battle is over the value of the testimony of the reporter when, from my view, the matter is simply trying to find out who leaked the information. From all accounts, the veracity of what has been leaked is not being called to question. And in actuality, the court is pissed off about the matter of fact of the leak and is seeking to punish whomever did the leaking. For my dough, all of it stinks. The reporter ( for once ) did the citizens a service because the court was actually trying to hide this information from public disclosure and it does not seem that the judge was concerned about the impact on the defendant, but rather the impact on “the government.” If you extend the axiom that it is NEVER in your interests to speak to anyone in law enforcement a little, you would also NEVER give testimony in a court of law. In both instances, you place yourself, in today’s sorry legal system, in serious jeopardy. As someone said, the reporter shouldn’t say a word and leave the “driving” to the Fox attorneys.
Ditto "especially since your source could be made up, who knows?"
Agreed, just keeping tabs on domestic terrorist attacks since 9-11-2001.
Too bad she didn’t disclose the forbidden toxicology tests of Lanza in Newtown.
I have also been interested if that connection was involved with Mr. Kyle’s (the Navy Seal sniper) murder.
Very little has been said about him since it happened. That silence makes me suspicious he sold out to kill Kyle. One of his relatives said something like “he said he had made a deal with the devil”. Suspicious in my mind.
She now works for Fox News.
It’s more than that. It’s Monarch cocoons waiting to hatch.
It varies from state to state since there is no Federal shield law. Generally, the state must show clear and compelling evidence regarding damage or potential damage to a case to force a reporter to testify.
And since you just “published your viewpoint” on the Internet, you better hope that this journalist stands strong against an unlawful judicial edict.
Did you temporarily forget who works for whom?
long before the news reporters just made things up, they were an honest lot who would speak truth to power. power would demand to know the source of such truths, and reporters would rather go to prison to keep the sanctity of their sources than jeopardize the loss of information that they could achieve on the ill doings of power.
there is no special right, just a special dedication to the truth and the justice that that truth can bring.
with all news being suspect, nothing is sacred.