Court Fines Patch Editor $300 Per Day For Not Revealing Sources

from the chilling-effects dept

The war on journalism isn't coming from just the federal government. Over in Illinois, a judge has fined Joseph Hosey, an editor for the AOL-owned hyperlocal news site, Patch, $1,000 plus court costs, plus $300 per day for refusing to reveal his sources on a certain story. This is pretty important. Having a journalist reveal sources basically ends that reporter's career as a serious investigative reporter because no source will trust that their information will be secret again. By definition, having the government require someone to do so certainly seems like a First Amendment violation, as it's a clear restriction on the freedom of the press. In addition, while we're skeptical of journalism shield laws (and how they can be used to exclude journalists, rather than include them), Illinois does have a shield law. Thankfully, Patch is appealing this ruling.


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  1.  
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    crade (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 4:07pm

    This headline really makes me think someone was fined for violating an opensource license agreement :)

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 4:12pm

    Re:

    Indeed! I thought the very same thing.

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 4:44pm

    SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    "representing a defendant in the Joliet murder case" -- Mike, you LEFT OUT NINE-TENTHS of the story to fit it into your agenda. And your fanboys call me dishonest. Sheesh.

    This is MUCH more complex than a reporter being given gov't secrets. And if a defendant can plausibly show that the reporter has information that'll help clear him, then the reporter is morally obligated to produce it -- perhaps he could have done so anonymously and satisfied both concerns -- but if conscience isn't enough, then this bit of compelled is fine.

    By the way, it's not ME who keeps going the wrong way on these marginal cases! It's YOU and your fanboy-trolls who are so INCREDIBLY idealistic that you don't see the practical flaws! But the slope is ALWAYS slippery, and far as I see, not really getting worse for this. The key is to pick a point on the slippery slope that you can maintain. -- For instance, YOUR casting a pirate site having its domain name taken away as some dire attack on free speech is just LOONY! That's NOT going to affect honest people, but an actual defendant in the teeth of the courts NOT being able to compel testimony may well land him in jail. So you're JUST PLAIN WRONG HERE.

     

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  4.  
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    The Anti-Troll, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 4:51pm

    Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    Will you just STFU already. If Mike was against kicking puppies, you'd be for it. Grow up kid.

     

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  5.  
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    Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    Blue-boy: "LEFT OUT NINE-TENTHS of the story"

    Looks like that's what you did.

    "Kinney ruled in August that Hosey had to turn over the confidential source of the police reports ..."


    It was just the police reports. Not other incriminating (or otherwise) information unavailable to the authorities or defense team.

    "Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Marie Czech said during the hearing that the grand jury proceedings in the Hickory Street murder cases were not compromised by Hosey’s articles, nor was evidence compromised."


    Just police reports that did not compromise the investigation or grand jury proceedings. So Patch informed the public without affecting the case. Sounds like decent journalism to me, thoroughly protected by the First Amendment.

    And from there, you proceed to hop on your usual ranting hobby horse about things completely unrelated to this post. Dude, I generally read all comments, including yours, because -- usually -- comments add valuable elements to a basic post. But roughly 99.9999% of your comments turn out to be worse than useless, and I click the report button to save other people the trouble of scrolling past you.

    I'm just going to skip the first part, and go straight to downchecking your bilge waste. If you want to rant about Masnick et al, why not get your own blog and do it there? That way, folks (if any) who want to read your timewasters, can go straight to the source, without wasting time here. And you'll have control of the comments so you won't have to whine that you're being censored.

    You don't need to STFU; you just need to go buy your own soapbox... SOME. WHERE. ELSE. Please.

     

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  6.  
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    PopeRatzo (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    Who are you so mad at?

    All I know is this Techdirt article clued me in to a story from right here in my neck of the woods that I didn't know the first thing about. Whatever was left out of the Techdirt summary (and after all, an aggregator can't include everything, was certainly included in the linked material.

    So from where I sit, Techdirt did a fine job of journalism, just like the guy from Patch that the story is about.

    Take it easy, friend. Life's too short for so much anger at someone who's doing a pretty fine job from where I sit.

     

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  7.  
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    James Burkhardt (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    PopeRatzo, Bear is angry at one of the regular Trolls, Out_of_the_Blue (OOTB), whose posts you likely never see because they are regularly reported into oblivion. Bear is responding to OOTB's post.

     

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  8.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    No, you have it wrong. OoTB is anti-Techdirt, not simply anti-sanity. If Techdirt published a story protesting kicking puppies, OoTB would run out and start kicking puppies.

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    Sheesh. You can't get it right even after quoting: "the confidential source of the police reports" -- You wrote: "It was just the police reports." -- You are simply wrong that it was the reports and not NAME of the source manifestly NOT available to defense. It's perfectly valid to wonder who on the police force is trying to prejudice the trial. Those reports are kept from the public for precisely that reason. And such a person may be acting illegally to frame the defendant. -- Usually Techdirt is for defendants, but I guess only if they're charged with "liberating data".

    "And from there, you proceed to hop on your usual ranting hobby horse about things completely unrelated to this post." -- but I don't click on report, 'cause your UN-self-aware frothing rage is fine with me when you are FLATLY WRONG in your assertions as I show above.

     

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  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    @ "Chronno S. Trigger"
    No, you have it wrong. OoTB is anti-Techdirt, not simply anti-sanity. If Techdirt published a story protesting kicking puppies, OoTB would run out and start kicking puppies.


    But YOU are ON-TOPIC, right? Instead of simply responding to what you disparage? Not embiggening my effect at all, are you? -- OH, and by the way, you're just unable to answer my substance, that's all you reveal. You're not willing to state any positives, but you LOVE any excuse for ad hom.

    You're the most UN-self-aware, arrogant bunch of lightweights I can imagine.

    I'll repeat the deal I've attempted before: JUST SAY WHAT YOU WANT ON THE TOPIC, KIDS, AS I WILL. IF YOU DON'T WANT ME TO SHEERLY SNARK BACK AT YOUR EMPTY AD HOM, THEN DON'T CLICK ON "REPLY".

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 7:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    I wish Masnick would publish a story supporting breathing oxygen.

     

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  12.  
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    Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    Sheesh. You can't get it right even after quoting: "the confidential source of the police reports" -- You wrote: "It was just the police reports." -- You are simply wrong that it was the reports and not NAME of the source manifestly NOT available to defense.

    I realize you have trouble keeping up with the real world, but please refer to my original comment again. I said that that what Patch published was information from the police reports; I did not say that was what the current hearing was trying to learn, because that was the point of the post on the hearing and fines.

    Try to keep up. The court (and defense) does not need the confidential source's name because nothing that Patch published affected the investigation and grand jury proceedings (adversely or otherwise), according to the article.

    Again, try to keep up. You are the one who suggested that Patch had other information: "And if a defendant can plausibly show that the reporter has information that'll help clear him, then the reporter is morally obligated to produce it".

    The patch reporter reported information already known to the police. Since the defense team obviously knows about this current proceeding, it seems obvious they know what Patch published (and should have gotten that through disclosure as well; if they didn't that is another issue unrelated to Patch). Nothing demonstrates knowledge of the crime above and beyond what the defense has. At most, they are on a fishing expedition, hoping to delay final conviction and sentencing. This case seems to be the very poster child for the state's shield law- there is no apparent reason that forcing revelation of the source's identity serves justice and the public interest.

    But... congratulations. This is the longest you've stayed on topic since I noticed your bizarre rants on Techdirt.

     

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  13.  
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    Griff, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 11:18pm

    Object lesson

    What I can see so far of this post and comments offers an object lesson in what is so much better about reading techdirt vs reading a conventional newspaper.

    OOTB's criticism and the subsequent discussion leave me way more informed about the core of the issue than if I'd just read the post. I might have thought I understood the issue after reading the post but I'd have been wrong.

    Though the tone can sometimes be hysterical, personal, and (perhaps worst of all) off topic, were it not for these impassioned mini flames (which curiously, never seem to lead to Hitler references) it'd be far less informative an experience overall.

    As a result I almost always click on "reported" posts because without them I can't put people's subsequent reactions to them into any kind of context.
    Worringly, I may actually be making an argument for the continued existence of OOTB...

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 12:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    OOTB you never stay on topic, its always an insult, a personal attack, and another insult.

    You never respond to people when they pick apart your arguments as you are always proven wrong.

     

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  15.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 24th, 2013 @ 3:56am

    Good thing he appealed. Hugo Chavez must be proud in his afterlife ;)

     

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  16.  
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    Wolfy, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 6:13am

    YOU MORONS

    Let the troll derail the convo after only point zero three comments. You morons lose, Troll wins.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: SO, you'd rather someone be convicted of murder!

    If he used his feet as well as he uses logic, the puppies would win.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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