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Court refuses murder defendant's appeal for reporter's notes

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    NMU         NEW JERSEY         Confidentiality/Privilege         Dec 14, 2000    

Court refuses murder defendant’s appeal for reporter’s notes

  • The denial keeps intact a trial judge’s decision to keep confidential the notes of an interview with a confessed murderer-for-hire.

A New Jersey appellate court has refused to take an appeal from a murder defendant seeking a reporter’s notes. The New Jersey Appellate Division decided on Dec. 7 not to accept an appeal sought by Rabbi Fred Neulander, according to Katherine Hatton, general counsel for the parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Neulander had sought the notes of Inquirer reporter Nancy Phillips, who interviewed Leonard Jenoff, the state’s principal witness against him. Neulander is accused of paying Jenoff to kill his wife, who was found fatally beaten in her home in 1994. The newspaper became part of the case to oppose the request for the interview notes.

On Sept. 12, Camden, N.J. trial judge Linda Rosenzweig denied the defendant’s requests for Phillips’ unpublished notes. She ruled that the Phillips did not waive the reporter’s privilege by accompanying Jenoff to his confession to police. She also ruled that Neulander had not met the test for receiving her notes under the privilege.

Hatton said Neulander has until Dec. 17 to ask the appellate division to reconsider its refusal to hear the appeal and Dec. 27 to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

(New Jersey v. Neulander; Media Counsel: Warren Faulk, Westmont, N.J.; Katherine Hatton, Philadelphia) DB

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