Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
A Fox News reporter is now facing jail time for doing her job covering.
Our heart wrenching story last summer's mass shooting at you -- of Colorado movie -- that killed twelve.
And wounded dozens and soon after Fox News reporter Jana winter broken exclusive story.
She found that prior to the shooting in the suspected gunman James Holmes said a notebook to University of Colorado psychiatrist.
That may have foreshadowed the attack.
Her story cited unnamed law enforcement sources in the defense team for homes once those sources revealed.
-- is refusing but unless she names him in court this coming week she could be going to jail.
Joining -- to talk about the First Amendment issues involved.
Susan etheridge is a Fox News contributors is a professor of law.
And political science at USC in this might be a -- First Amendment law segment were it not that one of our colleagues is facing jail time.
Susan let's explain to folks out there -- sometimes.
Reporters want to protect the anonymity of their sources.
Living is no questions you know rip it if a reporter here protect the anonymity of your sources people aren't going to tell them things and -- in a government where we really believe that the check on power it's a free press.
You don't want to stifle the ability of reporters such as Jana and others.
Did get to the bottom of important stories and provide -- -- true and accurate information.
The issue here is that because we've added a defendant not track -- -- I'm trapped for -- life.
And you've got -- gag order meaning that none of the parties to prosecutors.
Police defense attorneys were supposed to be talking to the press.
The defense is claiming that -- -- ability to get a fair trial for their client.
Is being impaired because she won't get on the stand.
And reveal her source if you ask me that claim doesn't hold that -- -- better -- he had visited I have to decide.
Well -- think basically because you know Frist about the First Amendment protects the free press.
But second of all 32 states including Colorado.
Has -- a step further it and recognizing some of the rationales you and I are talking about.
They said we want to provide even greater protection for newspapers -- news organizations.
So here the the notion.
Bits and have this man's ability to get a fair trial is being destroyed.
By by the fact that he doesn't know the name.
Of the law enforcement person who told Jana about it a notebook that's currently in his concession.
Seems to me very much of that stretch.
Another one of our colleagues Judy Miller who was working for the New York Times.
At the time.
That that she experienced hurt her her ordeal she actually went to prison for refusing to reveal the source of the story involving the Valerie Plame.
Fiasco during the bush administration of people remember the details there it is it really just up to the judge to decide whether or not the reporter asked to.
Reveal the source whether or not the reporter has actually go to jail if if she refuses to do that.
Well there's some law in this actually obviously -- hit discretion.
But in Judy's case the issue was that it was believed her source had.
-- your hat.
Violated a very fundamental criminal law that prohibits revelation.
Of the identity of CIA.
Officials are re agents -- and you can imagine and understand why that's a -- but potentially serious violation.
He -- contracts here this is not about whether he's guilty or innocent.
This is -- that.
Who may have on law enforcement violated the gag order has been happening gag order that -- -- -- an issue who may have violated this gag order.
It to provide her with information that is.
I would say it best -- risk for or.
You know on the outside.
Clothes the core issues in that case so.
Whether or not you agree -- disagree with what happened with Judy Miller this one is a real stretch -- and I think that reporter here.
He's not being treated fairly if there's any serious threat that she would go to jail interestingly didn't -- that -- question the police again because.
One of the provisions Rick.
Of the shield law.
Is that if you can find the information from any other -- you don't force the reported this week.
-- is hearing is this coming week I think it's on the tenth and right now she's saying that she will not disclose.
Who her source was in this case it will be following it.
Very closely we appreciate you coming on Susan talk about the legality.
Of First Amendment and shield protection laws and and the like always good to get your thoughts good to see you -- don't bet you can read Susan's syndicated column in newspapers.
Across the country every Wednesday and Friday.
Filter by section