Tag: First Amendment

Utah Judge Orders Journalist to Write Story or Be Held in Contempt

In Utah, the judge in the Warren Jeff's polygamy trial has ordered a reporter to write a public service article or be held in contempt of court.

The backdrop: Reporter Katie Baker was a reporter covering the Warren Jeffs trial. She was new to covering trials and didn't know the Judge had entered an order prohibiting reporters from interviewing prospective jurors. Baker interviewed a female potential juror outside the courthouse and the tv station she worked for aired it that night. (The tv station did know about the rule but the regular managing editor was not working on the Jeffs case that day.)

So, is the judge's order proper? First Amendment lawyer guru Floyd Abrams has his doubts and calls the order "extraordinary."

"The notion that a judge can either compel a journalist to write a story, or sit in judgment on a story to determine if it sufficiently serves the public interest, is extremely disturbing," Abrams said in an interview from New York.

"It puts the judge in a classic role of censor," he said. "The judge is deciding whether the story is worthy or not - not even if it's true but whether it's worthy."

The tv station says its reviewing its options.

(7 comments) Permalink :: Comments