ERIC Number: ED172298
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Supreme Court's Search Ruling.
The 1971 police search of a newspaper office led to the United States Supreme Court's "Zurcher v The Stanford Daily" decision that newspaper offices can permissibly be searched if it is believed that they contain materials that relate to an ongoing criminal investigation. This decision has been viewed by the press as an attack on First Amendment protections, as a threat to the confidentiality of sources, as an invitation to police to use newsrooms as sources of information for investigations, and as a threat to the newspaper's role as watchdog on government and law enforcement. Since that decision, 12 to 15 searches have been conducted, lasting as long as 20 hours. Specific guidelines for newspaper offices to mitigate the effects of police searches include the following: insist that the warrant be presented to the editor in charge; summon an attorney and stall for time; understand the specific terms of the warrant; insist that police officers restrict themselves to precisely what is sought in the warrant; keep confidential materials in a safe or at home; use code names for sources; refrain from discarding notes; destroy unprinted photos immediately after running stories; cover the newsroom incident as a news story with photos; and insist on receipts for all items taken. (DF)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Guides - General
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.