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Journalists jailed

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials

From the Fall 2001 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 28.

Other journalists who have gone to jail rather than comply with subpoenas since 1984, when the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press began compiling such information, include:

Tim Crews, editor and publisher, Sacramento Valley Mirror, Calif., served five days in jail in 2000 after he refused to name sources for a story relating to a theft charge against a California Highway Patrol officer.

Sarah Owens, Charlotte, N.C., WCNC-TV reporter. Sentenced to 30 days in jail in 1998 for refusing to testify about statements made by a murder suspect’s attorney. Served two hours.

David Kidwell, reporter, The Miami Herald. Sentenced to 70 days in 1996 for refusing to testify for prosecution about jailhouse interview. Served 14 days.

Bruce Anderson, editor, Anderson Valley Independent, Calif. Jailed in 1996 for 13 days for refusing to turn over original letter to the editor received from prisoner.

Lisa Abraham, reporter, The Tribune Chronicle, Ohio. Jailed from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10, 1994, for refusing to testify before a state grand jury about interview.

Felix Sanchez and James Campbell, Houston, Texas, newspaper reporters, locked in judge’s chambers for several hours in 1991; had refused to stand in the back of courtroom and identify possible eyewitnesses to crime.

Four newspaper reporters in South Carolina jailed for eight hours in 1991. Subpoenas sought unpublished conversations with state senator on trial in federal court for corruption.

Tim Roche, Stuart, Fla., newspaper reporter. Subpoenaed in 1990 to reveal source for leaked court order supposed to have been sealed. Jailed briefly, released pending appeal. Later sentenced to 30 days for criminal contempt. Served 18 days in 1993.

Libby Averyt, Corpus Christi, Texas, newspaper reporter. Subpoenaed in 1990 for information about jailhouse interview. Jailed over a weekend.

Brian Karem, San Antonio, Texas, TV reporter. Subpoenaed by defense and prosecution in 1990; refused to reveal names of individuals who arranged jailhouse interview. Jailed for 13 days.

Roxana Kopetman, Los Angeles, newspaper reporter. Jailed for six hours in 1987 for resisting prosecution subpoena seeking eyewitness testimony.

Brad Stone, Detroit, Mich., TV reporter. In 1986, refused to reveal identities of gang members interviewed several weeks prior to cop killing. Jailed for one day.

Chris Van Ness, California, free-lance writer. Subpoenaed in 1985 in connection with John Belushi’s death. Jailed for several hours; revealed source; released.

Richard Hargraves, Belleville, Ill., newspaper reporter. Jailed in 1984 over a weekend in connection with libel case.