* This is crazy…
A Will County judge on Friday found a Joliet crime reporter in contempt of court for not divulging how he obtained confidential police reports about a notorious double murder earlier this year.
Will County Circuit Court Judge Gerald Kinney on Friday found patch.com reporter Joseph Hosey in contempt of court and gave him 180 days to disclose his source. Hosey faces jail time if he does not reveal who gave him the reports, Kinney said. […]
More than 500 sworn statements were submitted by members of the Joliet Police Department, Will County State’s Attorney’s office, and the staff of the attorneys representing the defendants. Everyone stated they were not the source.
Kinney fined Hosey $1,000 plus court fees and said he’s also facing additional fines of $300 per day until he reveals his source.
Assistant State’s Attorney Marie Czech told the judge that she felt the disclosure of the information in the police reports did not influence the grand jury’s decision to indict the four people charged in the killings.
What happened here is that the defense lawyer asked the judge to squeeze the info out of the reporter after all other avenues they tried had come up empty. And the judge eagerly complied.
Hosey’s attorney Kenneth L. Schmetterer immediately appealed the judge’s ruling.
“Illinois courts have upheld the shield law to protect reporters precisely from having to divulge confidential sources because of the chilling effect it can have on the important work reporters can do,” Schmetterer said after Friday’s hearing. “That’s a principle that’s established and recognized by appellate courts and the Illinois Supreme Court by the statute, and that’s why we’re going to vigorously press forward with our appeal.”
* The state’s shield law has an exemption…
a specific public interest which would be adversely affected if the factual information sought were not disclosed
* There is also a provision in case law that the shield can be lifted if investigators have exhausted “all sources of information.” So, conducting that witch hunt apparently meets that standard for this particular judge.
But it’s still bogus.