NY Court Says Reporter Can Block Subpoena For Theater Killing Sources


Fox News reporter Jana Winter may use New York’s Shield Law to block a Colorado court subpoena to compel her to reveal sources for an article on James Holmes, the “Batman” theater shooter, says a divided New York Court of Appeals ruling reported by the New York Law Journal. Judge Victoria Graffeo said for a 4-3 majority that allowing a New York court to uphold the Colorado subpoena “would offend our strong public policy—a common law, statutory and constitutional tradition that has played a significant role in this State becoming the media capital of the country if not the world.”

Noting that the Shield Law represents a fundamental pillar of press freedom traditions since colonial times, Graffeo said, “Protection of the anonymity of confidential sources is a core—if not the central—concern underlying New York’s journalist privilege.” At issue was Winter’s story for FoxNews.com a week after Holmes was charged with killing 12 and wounding 70. Her story quoted unidentified law enforcement sources describing a notebook Holmes sent to a University of Colorado psychiatrist before the July 20, 2012, shooting suggesting he had plans to commit a massacre.

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