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Illinois v. McKee (Hosey subpoena)

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
Patch.com reporter Joseph Hosey was ordered to testify in an Illinois murder trial regarding the identity of his source who…

Patch.com reporter Joseph Hosey was ordered to testify in an Illinois murder trial regarding the identity of his source who supplied him with a police report that contained details of the double murder. The judge in the trial court applied the state’s shield law to Hosey but nonetheless deprived him of the privilege, finding that the identity of the source was relevant to the trial, alternative sources had been exhausted, and the information was essential to protect the public interest. When Hosey still refused to disclose his source, the judge fined him $1,000 plus $300 a day until he complied. Hosey appealed, and the fines are on hold pending resolution of the appeal. In this amicus brief, joined by 38 other media organizations, we argue that the Illinois reporter’s privilege should protect Hosey from having to reveal his source in court. We emphasize the importance of crime reporting and why reporters must have access to reliable information from law enforcement sources. We also argue that the identity of who supplied a reporter with a police report — which is a matter of public record — is not relevant to determining the guilt or innocence of the defendants in the murder trial.

Illinois v. McKee (Hosey subpoena)