Thursday, June 3, 2010

UPDATE: Prosecutor & Student Paper Settle Suit Over College Paper Raid

ISAT/CS Building on the east campus of James M...Image via Wikipedia
The Commonwealth of Virginia will pick up the $10,000 legal fees tab of The Breeze, the college paper of Harrisonburg-based James Madison University, that was raided two months ago (see "TUOL" post 4/20/10).

Breeze Editor Katie Thisdell turned over 900 photos to police during the raid, 600 of which were taken during Springfest, where violence erupted and more than 30 arrests resulted.  Prosecutor Marsha Garst said henceforth, authorities will rely on subpoenas to news organizations, instead of search warrants, absent an imminent threat of bodily harm to an individual.Subpoenas enable a court to weigh the merits of the government's need for information against journalist's privilege.

The resolution is seen as reinforcing The Privacy Protection Act of 1980 [42 U.S.C. sec. 2000aa], which protects newsrooms from unconstitutional seizures by law enforcement.

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