ERIC Number: ED224027
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
An Empirical Study of Post-Branzburg Cases Involving Newsmen's Privilege.
Nine years after the 1972 Supreme Court ruling in *Branzburg v. Hayes" that journalists enjoy no constitutional privilege to withhold the names of sources and to conceal information from grand jury proceedings, a study was conducted to determine the courts' attitudes toward journalists' privilege and to test commonly held beliefs about its status in the courts. Four hypotheses concerning the outcomes of cases on the federal and state level were tested. Data were 129 subpoena cases reported in "The Media Law Reporter" and "News Media and the Law" from 1977 to 1980. Cases were broken into categories of state (82) and federal (47) and then further subdivided into civil and criminal. Cases were coded for state of origin, court's judgment (reveal or not reveal) and basis for decision--shield law, balance test, or technicality. Each case was followed through the appellate level. Analysis of data revealed that: (1) state courts upheld subpoena requests more frequently than did federal courts, (2) reporters were required to testify in more criminal than civil cases, (3) the balancing test was used in the majority of cases, and (4) the majority of cases were not appealed, and of those that were, 70% were upheld. From this data a pattern emerges in which state courts dominate these types of cases, reporters are at greater risk in criminal than civil proceedings, shield laws are ineffectual, and states have developed definite attitudes toward journalists' privilege. Also, in criminal cases, reporters must testify about as often during grand jury proceedings as during actual trials and a subpoena is just as likely to seek confidential information as sources. (JL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Branzburg v Hayes
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (65th, Athens, OH, July 25-28, 1982).