Phoenix Newspapers Inc. v. Hon. Reinstein

January 30, 2017

John D’Anna, a reporter for The Arizona Republic, wrote a story several years ago based upon two interviews he had conducted with Father Joseph Terra, a victim of aggravated assault. D’Anna received a subpoena from the criminal defendant, requiring D’Anna to appear in court and produce all notes and materials related to the interview. D’Anna and Phoenix Newspapers, Inc. (“PNI”) filed a motion to quash the subpoena. The trial court denied PNI’s motion to quash, but the Arizona Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s decision, finding that reporters have a First Amendment qualified privilege against the compelled disclosure of information obtained during newsgathering. The Arizona Supreme Court then accepted review.

Supreme Court allows execution without disclosure of drug information

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Freedom of Information | News | July 23, 2014
July 23, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court prevented an Arizona death row inmate from delaying his execution date in order to receive information on the drugs to be used in his execution.

The denial overturns a decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco (9th Cir.) that ruled capital prisoner Joseph Wood’s requests for information on the drugs the state planned to use to execute him had sufficient merit to delay his execution, scheduled for Wednesday.

The state of Arizona asked the full Ninth Circuit court to review the panel's decision, but the circuit court refused Monday to hear it in front of its full 11-judge panel. The state then took its appeal to the Supreme Court, which also refused to hear the appeal but did lift the Ninth Circuit stay to allow Wood’s execution to go forward.


August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): An individual not involved or present at a conversation must have the consent of at least one party in order to legally record either an oral or electronic communication. Intercepting such conversations without consent is a felony under Arizona law. This excludes situations where the person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The state allows for civil suits for violations of its eavesdropping laws.


May 1, 2012


Arizona bill could make writing an annoying or offensive electronic statement a misdemeanor

Haley Behre | Content Regulation | News | April 6, 2012
April 6, 2012

Arizona legislators say they are limiting the language of a controversial proposed bill that criminalizes speech via "electronic or digital device" that could, among other things, "offend or annoy" someone else.

The bill passed the Arizona house and senate in March, but is now back on the floor after First Amendment advocates complained that the bill's language was too broad.

Ariz. publishers' suit against special prosecutor can proceed

Aaron Mackey | Newsgathering | Feature | June 13, 2011
June 13, 2011

Publishers of an alternative Arizona newspaper can continue their civil rights lawsuit against a special prosecutor who they say violated their constitutional rights by arresting the pair for publicizing purported grand jury subpoenas, a federal appellate court ruled last week.

Website with "rude opinions" not liable for privacy invasion

Kristen Rasmussen | Privacy | Feature | June 10, 2011
June 10, 2011

Online photographs of a bikini-clad woman accompanied by unflattering comments did not invade her privacy, a federal judge in Arizona recently ruled.

Judge modifies ban on release of Tucson shooting records

Clara Hogan | Secret Courts | Feature | May 26, 2011
May 26, 2011

A federal judge on Wednesday modified his previous blanket ban on the disclosure of investigation records relating to the January mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that severely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

Court dismisses Arizona blogger's suit against police over search

Ansley Schrimpf | Privacy | Quicklink | December 17, 2009
December 17, 2009

An Arizona federal court last week dismissed a blogger's lawsuit against the city of Phoenix over a raid police conducted of his home that resulted in the confiscation of the laptop he used to manage a Web site that criticized the police department.

The blogger, Jeff Pataky, argued that the search and seizure violated the federal Privacy Protection Act, which protects journalists from searches and seizure of their work product.

Pitcher fights to keep wife's death records private

Miranda Fleschert | Freedom of Information | Feature | December 4, 2009
December 4, 2009

The battle over the release of former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Scott Schoeneweis’ wife’s death records must continue in a lower court, an Arizona appeals court said this week.

Schoeneweis’ wife Gabrielle was found dead on May 20 after overdosing on cocaine and lidocaine. The pitcher asked the court not to release her death records, but Commissioner Barbara Hamner denied his request on July 9.