Summary: Privilege In Court Cases

444 Words2 Pages
The San Francisco Chronicle published stories in 2004 about a BALCO steroids investigation, involving grand jury testimony of four baseball stars, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and sprinter Tim Montgomer. In 2006, Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru Wada, the two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, were ordered jailed by a federal judge after they refused to divulge their source. The reporters repeatedly had said they would rather go to jail than reveal how they obtained the transcripts from a grand jury that investigated the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. A federal court judge ruled that Williams and Fainaru-Wada must testify before a federal grand jury and reveal the name of the confidential source that leaked information to them…show more content…
But to Pinguelo, the trend is less obvious. “While recent high profile federal cases may appear on the surface to paint a bleak picture for the privilege, other signs show that the privilege has actually been strengthened over the past couple of years,” said Pinguelo in an interview. “Moreover, courts continue to uphold the existence of the privilege under state and federal law.” “By one estimate, the press was protected from compelled disclosure of information and sources in approximately sixty percent of the roughly twenty court cases decided two years ago.” Pinguelo continued. This percentage is consistent with the pattern over the last thirty years. Against this backdrop of diminishing protection for the reporter 's privilege in the federal courts, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would establish a federal shield law similar to those enacted by many states. The legislation would provide significantly more protection to reporters than the federal courts currently do and is supported by a broad based coalition of media and reporters ' organizations. Klein suggested that reporters should work together to put a federal shield law into place. Patience is needed, according to Klein, to push such a federal shield law into existence. Klein said, “There are enough cases in which journalists have gotten burnt and hopefully, if there is a kind of cultural solidarity remains will be able to push something like that (a federal shield law)
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