Montana shield law expanded to forbid government subpoenas of third-party records

Soo Rin Kim | Reporter's Privilege | News | October 22, 2015
October 22, 2015

With new amendments to the state shield law, journalists in Montana will not have to worry about electronic communications services turning over reporters's records to the government.

House Bill 207, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, "prohibits government bodies from requesting or requiring disclosure of privileged news media information from services that transmit electronic communications."

The bill was signed into law in April and took effect on Oct. 1 as an amendment to the existing Montana shield law, known as the "Media Confidentiality Act."

Mont. judge releases part of presentence report in prosecution of federal senator's boat crash

Lilly Chapa | Secret Courts | News | October 25, 2012
October 25, 2012

A Montana judge Wednesday approved the release of portions of a presentence investigation report in a criminal case stemming from a 2009 boat crash involving two federal legislators.


August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): It is a violation of “privacy in communications” to record either an in-person conversation or electronic communication without the consent of all parties, except under certain circumstances. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213 (2011).


May 1, 2012


Mont. supreme court orders release of investigation letter

You-Jin Han | Freedom of Information | Feature | December 2, 2011
December 2, 2011

The Montana Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the city of Billings must release an internal investigation letter issued to a police department employee who allegedly made personal purchases on a department credit card.

Newspaper invokes Montana shield law to avoid subpoenas

Stephen Miller | Newsgathering | Feature | September 20, 2010
September 20, 2010

The publisher and two editors of a Montana newspaper are relying on the state’s shield law to quash subpoenas for their testimony in a change of venue hearing for a double homicide trial, said Pete Meloy, the newspaper’s attorney.

Lawyers for Justine Winter, the 17-year-old defendant accused of killing a mother and son when she drove her car over the center line of a Montana highway, have filed a motion for a change of venue, claiming that online comments and responses to the Daily Inter Lake’s coverage of the case have tainted the jury pool, he said.

Paper fights subpoena for online commenters' identities

Kathleen Cullinan | Reporter's Privilege | Quicklink | June 5, 2009
June 5, 2009

Lawyers for a Montana State University professor are trying to force the Bozeman Daily Chronicle to hand over notes related to its reporting on her discrimination lawsuit against the school, and the identities of commenters who wrote on its Web site, the paper reports.

National transparency advocate loses TV news job

Kathleen Cullinan | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | January 6, 2009
January 6, 2009

Ian Marquand, a veteran Montana journalist and a national figure in open-government advocacy, has lost his television job amid budget woes, the Missoulian reports.

Montana radio host ordered to pay $3.8 million in slander verdict

Samantha Fredrickson | Libel | Quicklink | September 19, 2008
September 19, 2008

A Montana radio host on Wednesday was slapped with a $3.8 million slander verdict.

John Stokes, the owner and host of the KGEZ AM radio station in Kalispell, was sued by a father and son who alleged he made defamatory remarks about them on his radio show last year.  

Anonymous bloggers protected by shield law, judge finds

Samantha Fredrickson | Reporter's Privilege | Quicklink | September 4, 2008
September 4, 2008

A group of anonymous commenters on a Montana newspaper Web site can stay that way thanks to a Montana District Court judge’s ruling Wednesday.