3C3

3. Grand jury

3. Grand jury

Civil Rights Law § 79-h applies, on its face, to grand jury subpoenas. See Civil Rights Law § 79-h (b), (c) ("nor shall a grand jury seek to have a journalist or newscaster held in contempt by any court"). As the Court of Appeals has stated, the constitutional provision proscribing laws which suspend or impair a grand jury's investigative power was "not intended to prevent the Legislature from creating evidentiary privileges or their equivalent that have an incidental impact on investigations." Beach, 62 N.Y.2d at 252.

3. Grand jury

Alaska appellate courts have not had occasion to squarely address the existence or scope of a reporter's privilege. Given the nature of grand jury proceedings, and particularly the fact the cases consolidated in Branzburg all arose from a grand jury setting, it is predictable that courts might be more likely to enforce a subpoena in this context. However, anecdotal experience indicates that courts are willing to recognize a reporter's privilege, and apply the normal tests to quash a subpoena where the circumstances warrant.

3. Grand jury

There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue in the state courts. (Note: grand juries are rarely convened under Kansas law. A somewhat-similar procedure journalists are more likely to encounter in the state courts is the prosecutorial "inquisition." See K.S.A. 22-3101, et seq. An inquisition is essentially a discovery proceeding, in which the district attorney is authorized to issue subpoenas for testimony under oath regarding alleged violations of state law. There is no case law discussing the privilege in the context of an inquisition.)

3. Grand jury

A reporter may be found to be in civil contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury concerning a published interview where the subpoena was not issued for the purpose of harassment. In re Grand Jury Witness Subpoena of Abraham, 92 Ohio App. 3d 186, 634 N.E.2d 667 (1993).

3. Grand jury

There is no statutory or case law in Alabama that addresses the standards for asserting the reporter's privilege to overcome a grand jury subpoena.

3. Grand jury

Under the Louisiana shield law, a grand jury may not serve a subpoena upon a reporter unless the prosecutor has certified in writing that the information sought by the subpoena is "highly material and relevant; bears directly on the guilt or innocence of the accused; and is not obtainable from any alternative source." La. R.S. 45:1459(D)(1). A reporter may assert a qualified privilege and refuse to answer questions before a grand jury unless the reporter has witnessed criminal activity or has physical evidence of a crime. Ridenhour, 520 So.2d at 376.

3. Grand jury

The statute, by its express terms, does not differentiate grand jury from other judicial proceedings. There is no case law interpreting the statute in a grand jury context.