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High court won't hear appeal of journalist's conviction

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    NMU         U.S. SUPREME COURT         Newsgathering         Oct 3, 2000    

High court won’t hear appeal of journalist’s conviction

  • A journalist convicted of trafficking in child pornography while he researched a story on the topic faces 18 months in jail after exhausting his appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 2 without comment declined to review a Maryland journalist’s conviction for violating child pornography laws while he allegedly researched a news story on the prevalence of such material on the Internet.

Freelance journalist Larry Matthews was indicted by a federal grand jury in Greenbelt, Md., in December 1996 on charges of trafficking in pornographic images of children. He was scheduled to go on trial in July 1998, but he conditionally pleaded guilty to one count of receiving and one count of transporting pornographic depictions of minors after the judge refused to allow him to raise his First Amendment argument before the jury, which left him without a defense. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond (4th Cir.) upheld the trial court’s decision in April.

Matthews’ 18-month sentence had been stayed pending appeal.

(U.S. v. Matthews; Media Counsel: Beth Farber, Baltimore)

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