6th Cir.

A. Burden, standard of proof

To overcome a journalist's claim of First Amendment privilege, the subpoenaing party must produce "credible evidence," "compelling evidence," a "concrete demonstration" that the subpoenaed materials will be centrally relevant to an important legal issue in the case and that the information is not otherwise available from another source. Southwell v. Southern Poverty Law Ctr., 949 F.Supp. 1303 (W.D. Mich. 1996).

a. Disclosure of confidential source's name

There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

I. Introduction: History & Background

While the 6th Circuit definitely recognizes some sort of privilege for reporters faced with subpoenas from litigants, the scope and contours of that privilege are as yet not entirely defined. For instance, whereas the privilege is relatively strong in the civil context, its application in criminal cases is less certain, due to dictum in a case decided in 1987 stating that no such protection exists, under the First Amendment, for grand jury subpoenas.