Journalist Kalven Won’t Testify on Chicago Police Shooting

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A judge in Chicago quashed a subpoena that sought to force independent journalist Jamie Kalven to testify about his reporting on the fatal 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer, the Chicago Tribune reports. Judge Vincent Gaughan said attorneys for officer Jason Van Dyke did not adequately show that the testimony was relevant to their case. “To uphold the subpoena of Jamie Kalven would be nothing more than a fishing expedition in search of information that the timeline of events, discovery documents and testimony suggest simply does not exist,” Gaughan said.

Gaughan’s decision was largely based on the inadequacies of the subpoena itself rather than Kalven’s legally protected status as a reporter, he said. The judge acknowledged that reporters can be compelled to testify about sources only under extraordinary circumstances. Kalven, the first journalist to report on the 17-year-old’s fatal shooting, expressed relief. He had been prepared to face jail time rather than reveal his sources, he said. “I think it’s part of the job description to uphold a covenant with sources,” said Kalven. “The real hero in this case is a source within law enforcement who provided information … that enabled me and others to report on it. We have kind of a sacred trust with sources.”

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