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Kansas journalist to fight subpoena for testimony, notes

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
The Kansas reporter who was ordered to testify and reveal confidential sources related to a murder investigation has decided to…

The Kansas reporter who was ordered to testify and reveal confidential sources related to a murder investigation has decided to fight the judge’s ruling even if it means spending time in jail, The Associated Press reported.

Claire O’Brien, a journalist with the Dodge City Globe, was ordered to testify in the upcoming inquisition — much like a grand jury proceeding — of Sam Bonilla, a man charged with the second-degree murder. Her interview notes were likewise subpoenaed after she spoke to Bonilla in jail.

O’Brien told the AP that District Judge Daniel Love’s ruling was especially troublesome because he said any information known by a reporter is subject to discovery if it is relevant to a criminal case. Though Kansas does not have a reporter’s shield law, in the past judges have invoked a balancing test to decide whether the need to disclose the information is more important than recognizing a reporter’s promise of confidentiality.

The attorney representing O’Brien and the Globe intends to ask for a stay of the order to testify at the Jan. 5 court proceeding while they appeal.

"Going to jail is something I am able to do and willing to do," O’Brien told the AP.