Court Watch - POSTED: 2013/12/11 13:22
A Fox News reporter is protected by New York law from being forced to reveal her sources for a story about the suspect in the mass shooting that left 12 people dead in a suburban Denver movie theater last year, the state's top court ruled Tuesday.
The state's shield law supports refusing to recognize a Colorado court's petition for a subpoena, the New York Court of Appeals ruled, 4 to 3.
Lawyers for the suspect, James Holmes, wanted New York-based reporter Jana Winter brought to Colorado to name two law officers who told her Holmes had mailed a notebook depicting violence to a psychiatrist. They argued that the sources violated a judge's gag order, may have lied under oath about that and won't be credible as trial witnesses.
"There is a substantial likelihood that a New York reporter will be compelled to divulge the identity of a confidential source (or face a contempt sanction) if required to appear in the other jurisdiction _ a result that would offend the core protections of the shield law, a New York public policy of the highest order," the court said in overturning a mid-level appeals court's decision supporting the subpoena.
One dissenting judge said New York's law does not protect Winter because the privileged communications with her sources took place in another state.