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Journalist released from jail after serving five-day sentence

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials

    NMU         CALIFORNIA         Confidentiality/Privilege         Mar 3, 2000    

Journalist released from jail after serving five-day sentence

  • Editor and publisher Tim Crews was released from jail after serving a five-day sentence for protecting the identity of sources.

Sacramento Valley Mirror editor and publisher Tim Crews was released from jail March 1, having served his five-day sentence for refusing to reveal his confidential sources in a story involving the sale of an allegedly stolen firearm by a state patrol officer.

Tehama County Superior Court Judge Noel Watkins originally ordered Crews to be held in contempt and to report to jail on Feb. 7, but then stayed the enforcement of his order until Feb. 24 to allow the California Supreme Court time to review Crews’ case. After the state Supreme Court decided to let the sentence stand, Crews filed a habeas corpus petition in federal District Court in Sacramento, but the judge denied the petition on Feb. 25. Crews immediately appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco (9th Cir.), but the federal appellate court did not stay the decision, and Crews reported to the Tehama County Jail on Feb. 26.

Crews refused to reveal his source for a story relating to a theft charge against California Highway Patrol officer Dewey Anderson. Anderson has pleaded not guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges relating to an allegedly stolen firearm. Anderson said he needed Crews’ testimony about his earlier story to establish that authorities knew about the allegations years ago, and the statute of limitations thus prevented prosecution.

(Crews v. Tehama County Superior Court; Media Counsel: Charity Kenyon, Sacramento)

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