Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Military judge orders reporter to appear as defense witness

Here's a link to a fascinating article about a court-martial case involving a Marine's prosecution for violating an order not to speak with a reporter. The military judge in the case has ruled that a reporter must appear as a defense witness in the case, holding that the reporter isn't protected from testifying by a qualified newsgatherer's privilege. The military judge ruled that he didn't need to decide whether such a privilege applied in the military justice system because it would be overcome in this case even if it did.

h/t Phil Cave's Court-Martial Trial Practice blog


Norbert Basil MacLean III said...

FYI the military judge's ruling can be found here. Also the San Diego Union Tribune is now reporting here on the ruling which indicates the newspaper has yet to decide whether or not an appeal to NMCCA is going to be sought.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a copy of the ruling. Overall I think it was correct, but I don't understand how the court can address the motion to quash without deciding the issue of whether a journalist privilege exists under MRE 501 (above and beyond any privilege/shield which may exist in state law).

Is the court really saying that the movant failed to sustain its burden of establishing the existence of such a privilege, in light of conflicting/unsettled precedent?

Phil Cave said...

So, this would be resolved the same under S.448. Presumably a court-martial would be a sufficient "federal entity?"