Texas judge upholds shield law in criminal case

A state judge in Texas earlier this week quashed a subpoena ordering a journalist to testify in a murder trial, in a rare test of the reporter's privilege in criminal courts since Texas enacted its Free Flow of Information Act in 2009.

Defense attorneys argued that, as shown by her articles, Donna Fielder, a staff writer for the Denton Record-Chronicle, was privy to essential information that would refute investigators' testimonies concerning the defendant.

But District Judge Bruce McFarling said that Fielder was protected from testifying under the state shield law. The law says that a party trying to compel a journalist to testify must first exhaust all efforts to find the information elsewhere, show that the information is material and relevant to the case, and show that the information is essential to the claim.

Click here for the complete story (Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press)

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Legal issues