Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cook County Court Rejects Shield Law Claim of Medill Journalism Students

Wordmark of Northwestern University.Image via WikipediaNorthwestern University journalism students who toiled for five years under former Prof. David Protess in the Medill Innocence Project were criminal proceeding investigators, not journalists, and cannot withhold information from prosecutors under Illinois' shield law[75 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/8-901 to 8-909], a Cook County judge has ruled.

The Website said prosecutors are in line to receive more than 500 Emails the Medill students fought against disclosing, absent further appeal by Northwestern. The Emails concern the project's efforts to obtain the release of Anthony McKinney, who is serving a life-sentence for a murder conviction. The court found the students conducted interviews and amassed evidence at the direction of McKinney's counsel.

Counsel for the university argued that advocacy journalists, along with mainstream news media members, should benefit from the shield law.

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