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Author Topic: Subpoenaed Kansas reporter refuses to reveal sources  (Read 586 times)

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Offline ♥♣ ~Maynard~♣♥

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Subpoenaed Kansas reporter refuses to reveal sources
« on: December 19, 2009, 03:33:36 AM »

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Subpoenaed Kansas reporter refuses to reveal sources  By ROXANA HEGEMAN The Associated Press 
 
WICHITA | The attorney for a Dodge City reporter ordered to reveal confidential sources and to testify about a jailhouse interview of a murder suspect plans to challenge the judge's ruling, arguing that the court misinterpreted long-standing precedent.
The legal maneuvering comes as his client vows she is willing to go to jail in an unfolding drama with First Amendment implications for Kansas media and the public they serve.
Dodge City Globe reporter Claire O'Brien said the ruling against her is particularly chilling to news gathering in Kansas because the judge ruled that the information held by the reporter must only be "relevant" to a criminal case in order for it to be subject to discovery.
The ruling is significant because in the past Kansas judges had applied a balancing test to determine whether the need for the information outweighed the reporter's privilege of confidentiality, providing at least some limited legal protection. Kansas does not have a so-called media shield law.
At the heart of the subpoena is material relating to a story published in the Dodge City Globe following a jailhouse interview with Sam Bonilla, the man charged with second-degree murder in the Labor Day shooting death of Steven Holt and the attempted murder of Tanner Brunson in Dodge City. Bonilla, who is Hispanic, reportedly told O'Brien that he acted in self-defense after the two victims, both white, tried to run him down while he was jogging with two children along the Arkansas River.
The Globe story alluded that the incident has stirred up anti-Hispanic sentiment. It quoted Rebecca Escalante, the bails bondsman who got O'Brien into the jail, as saying she would have bonded Bonilla out of jail by now if she were not concerned for his safety. It also cited confidential sources saying that one of the shooting victims has a "base of support that is well-known for its anti-Hispanic beliefs" and has a supply of semiautomatic weapons.
http://www.kansascity.com/news/breaking_news/story/1639303.html
For the complete 2 page story click on link.
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