TAILIEUCHUNG - Gale Encyclopedia Of American Law 3Rd Edition Volume 9 P21

Gale Encyclopedia of American Law Volume 9 P21 fully illuminates today's leading cases, major statutes, legal terms and concepts, notable persons involved with the law, important documents and more. Legal issues are fully discussed in easy-to-understand language, including such high-profile topics as the Americans with Disabilities Act, capital punishment, domestic violence, gay and lesbian rights, physician-assisted suicide and thousands more. | 188 SHIELD LAWS SHIELD LAWS Shield laws are statutes affording a privilege to journalists not to disclose in legal proceedings confidential information or sources of information obtained in their professional capacities. They restrict or prohibit the use of certain evidence in sexual offense cases such as evidence regarding the lack of chastity of the victim. Journalist Shield Laws Journalist shield laws which afford news reporters the privilege to protect their sources are controversial because the privilege must be balanced against a variety of competing government interests such as the right of the government to apprehend criminals and to prevent the impairment of grand jury investigations. Still most states have enacted such laws based on the first amendment guarantee of FREEDOM of the press. There is no federal journalist shield law however because the . Supreme Court has refused to interpret the First Amendment as mandating a news reporter s privilege. There is a long history behind the current state statutes that provide a privilege for journalists to protect the sources of their information. Benjamin Franklin s older brother James was jailed for refusing to reveal the source of a story he published in his newspaper. The first reported case however was not until 1848 when a reporter was jailed for contempt of the Senate for refusing to disclose who had given him a copy of the secret proposed treaty to end the Mexican-American War Ex Parte Nugent 18 F. Cas. 471 Cir. Ct. . . Similar conflicts between a reporter s desire to keep sources confidential and the demands of the courts or legislatures for disclosure continued throughout the nineteenth century. During the early 1900s journalists repeatedly were brought to the witness stand to reveal their sources in the growing number of news stories about labor unrest and municipal corruption. These early conflicts led to the advancement of several legal theories that justified the reporter s refusal to .