Skip to content

Subpoenaed photographer refuses to hand over video

Post categories

  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
A independent videographer says he will not comply with a subpoena in a grand jury investigation into possible criminal activity at…

A independent videographer says he will not comply with a subpoena in a grand jury investigation into possible criminal activity at an Oregon pesticide rally.

The cameraman, Tim Lewis,  invoked the state’s shield law to protect his footage of an 18-year-old University of Oregon student lying facedown on the ground after police used a stun gun to incapacitate him. He previously posted some of the footage on YouTube.

The student, Ian Van Ornum, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Prosecutors want Lewis to turn over the video to look for evidence that Ornum and other students at the scene committed criminal behavior.

But Lewis said his video footage is the same as a reporter’s notes and should be protected under the shield law. "I can’t set a precedent by giving it to them," he told The Register-Guard.

If a judge decides that Lewis does not meet the definition of a journalist under the shield law, he could be jailed for contempt of court.