In re: Alabama Lethal Injection Protocol Litigation

May 10, 2018

The Reporters Committee filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama in support of three reporters who moved to quash subpoenaes seeking their testimony about their observations while witnessing state executions.  The amicus brief argues that the First Amendment reporter's privilege protects journalists from being forced to give testimony about observations made during the newsgathering process.  Without such protection, a reporter's neutrality could be called into question any time he or she was compelled to give testimony that benefited a party in litigation.


Blogger Roger Shuler released after five months in jail

Michael Rooney | Prior Restraints | News | April 2, 2014
April 2, 2014

Alabama blogger Roger Shuler was released from a Shelby County, Ala. jail on March 26, more than five months after he was imprisoned on contempt charges for refusing to comply with a court order to take down allegedly defamatory articles.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press argued in an October letter that the order was an unconstitutional prior restraint. Shuler had written a series of posts on his blog, Legal Schnauzer, claiming that Robert Riley, Jr., son of former Alabama governor Bob Riley and potential candidate for a soon-to-be-vacant U.S. House of Representatives seat, had an affair with and impregnated lobbyist Liberty Duke.

Letter re Alabama blogger Roger Shuler

November 7, 2013

The Reporters Committee wrote to a Shelby County, Ala., circuit court judge arguing that a blogger, Roger Shuler, should not be kept in jail on a contempt charge for refusing to remove articles from his web site. Shuler has been held for more than two weeks for violating a judge's order. The court has not issued a judgment on the underlying libel suit. The letter requested that the court rescind the civil contempt order entered against Mr. Shuler for violating the unconstitutional prior restraint and unseal the records in the case.

Alabama blogger still in jail after violating take-down order in libel suit

Jamie Schuman | Prior Restraints | News | November 6, 2013
November 6, 2013

Two weeks after his arrest, the Alabama blogger found to have violated a judge’s order not to publish certain stories remains in jail and without an opportunity to challenge the contempt order.

Alabama blogger jailed after violating prior restraint over articles that alleged high-profile affair

Jamie Schuman | Prior Restraints | News | October 25, 2013
October 25, 2013

Alabama blogger Roger Shuler was arrested Wednesday after allegedly violating a judge’s order that he not publish stories about a supposed affair involving the son of a former state governor, according to a news report and his wife Carol Shuler.

Police charged the blogger with contempt of court and resisting arrest, Carol Shuler said in an interview Friday. Roger Shuler has run “Legal Schnauzer,” a blog focused on exposing political corruption, since 2007. He is being held on a $1,000 bond on the resisting arrest charge, but bond was not set for the two contempt charges, his wife said. She also alleged that he was physically roughed up by police during his arrest.


August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): Alabama law sets criminal penalties for recording or disclosing private communication of others without the consent of at least one of the persons involved. The statute also bans secret observations while trespassing on private property. Those divulging illegally obtained communications also face criminal penalties.


May 1, 2012

Delinquency and dependency proceedings: Juvenile court proceedings are generally closed to the public in Alabama, although those with a proper interest in the case or in the work of the court may be admitted but only on the condition that they refrain from divulging any information that would identify the child or family involved. Ala. Code § 12-15-129 (2012).

Montgomery circuit court seals file in U.S. district judge's divorce proceedings

Amanda Simmons | Secret Courts | News | May 29, 2012
May 29, 2012

Three journalists requested access to the sealed file of an Alabama-based federal judge's divorce proceedings wrought with accusations of domestic violence, drug abuse and the judge's alleged affair with his court bailiff. The journalists and other legal watchers have expressed concern that the court quietly sealed the records without taking the standard procedural steps.

Ordering lawyers to follow conduct rules eliminated need for gag order in Ala. public corruption case

Kristen Rasmussen | Prior Restraints | Feature | March 15, 2012
March 15, 2012

Ordering lawyers to comply with rules of professional conduct was a less restrictive alternative to issuing a gag order during a high-profile politically charged Alabama gambling-corruption retrial, the presiding judge said in an opinion explaining the rationale for his decision yesterday.

Ala. judge limits public access in high-profile murder case

Clara Hogan | Secret Courts | Feature | June 9, 2011
June 9, 2011

A state trial court judge in Alabama has sealed court records in the high-profile capital murder case of Amy Bishop, a former University of Alabama in Huntsville biology professor charged with killing three university colleagues.