Contempt of court

Florida v. Cruz (Sun Sentinel Contempt Proceeding)

August 14, 2018

The Reporters Committee and 30 news media organizations filed an amicus brief in support of the Sun Sentinel and two of its reporters after the School Board of Broward County filed a petition to initiate contempt proceedings against them for publishing an article containing information from a report that the school board had released to the public. The report detailed the school system's interactions with student Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people in a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A court's order permitted the school board to redact the report before it was released to the public, but the version of the report that the school board uploaded to its public website, allowed any member of the public to access the full report.

Media organizations urge Senate to vote on federal shield bill

Cindy Gierhart | Reporter's Privilege | News | June 13, 2014
June 13, 2014

Spurred by a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal by New York Times reporter James Risen – which could result in Risen going to jail or being fined for not naming his source – media organizations stress that now is the time to pass a federal shield bill.

More than 70 news organizations – the Reporters Committee included – sent a letter to the Senate majority and minority leaders earlier this week, urging them to schedule a vote on the shield bill.

Supreme Court will not hear Risen's appeal over subpoena in Sterling prosecution

Cindy Gierhart | Reporter's Privilege | News | June 2, 2014
June 2, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will not hear an appeal by New York Times reporter James Risen, who has been subpoenaed to testify in a government leaks prosecution.

Risen could now face jail or fines if he refuses to testify.

Joel Kurtzberg, Risen’s attorney, said the ball is now in the government’s court. Risen was never held in contempt because the trial court initially ruled that he was protected by the reporter’s privilege and did not have to testify. An appellate court later reversed, and that decision now stands.

Therefore, the government will have to pursue Risen’s testimony again in trial court, Kurtzberg said.

“If they say they are going to do that, we will make clear that [Risen] is not going to testify and then there would have to be a contempt hearing,” Kurtzberg said.

Ohio bar association asks state Supreme Court to hold reporter in contempt

Cindy Gierhart | Reporter's Privilege | News | February 12, 2014
February 12, 2014

The Ohio Supreme Court is set to decide whether a reporter will be forced to testify in a lawyer’s disciplinary hearing.

While Ohio has a shield statute that protects journalists from having to reveal sources of information in court, the state has not yet determined whether the reporter’s privilege extends into quasi-judicial or administrative proceedings, according to court filings.

Colorado considers bill to bolster reporter shield law

Cindy Gierhart | Reporter's Privilege | News | January 16, 2014
January 16, 2014

The Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee considered a bill Wednesday that would strengthen the Colorado reporter shield law.

Colorado Sen. Bernie Herpin introduced the bill after Colorado courts threatened jail time for Fox News reporter Jana Winter if she did not reveal her confidential sources. The committee delayed a vote on the bill until a later date.

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.

Illinois reporter found in contempt of court for not revealing sources

Latara Appleby | Reporter's Privilege | News | September 20, 2013
September 20, 2013

An Illinois judge found a reporter in contempt of court today for not revealing his confidential sources for a story he wrote about a double murder in Joliet, Ill.

Hosey has been fined $1,000 and has to pay court fees. He was also fined $300 a day until he reveals his sources, though the fines have been stayed pending an appeal, as reported by Kenneth Schmetterer, the reporter's attorney, filed an appeal immediately after the ruling, reported.

Judge delays deciding if Fox News reporter must testify

Lilly Chapa | Reporter's Privilege | News | April 9, 2013
April 9, 2013

Fox News reporter Jana Winter won't have to testify about her confidential sources regarding the notebook of alleged theater shooter James Holmes – for now.

Affidavit in support of Fox News reporter Jana Winter

April 8, 2013

Fox News reporter Jana Winter faces an order to reveal her sources of information in the James Holmes Colorado theater shooting case. The Reporters Committee urged the court to carefully apply the qualified privilege under the Colorado shield law, to allow reporters like Winter to fully report on a case that is of great interest to the public.