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Report No. 93

V. Recent Developments in U.S.A.

6.17. Recent developments-California.-

There have been some noteworthy recent developments in the United States relevant to the topic under consideration. A law permitting reporters to withhold their sources, adopted by California voters in 1930, was declared unconstitutional (January 18, 1932) by a Superior Court Judge, on the ground that it created an unsupportable conflict with the constitutional right to a fair trial. The issue concerned "out takes", or unused films, from an interview conducted for the CBS News Program "60 Minutes" by Mike Wallace. The subject of the interview was Barry Braeseke, now 25 years old, who had been convicted of first-degree murder. Judge Stanley Colde held that the "Shield Law" was a First Amendment privilege that must give way to the Sixth Amendment guarantee of fair trial for the accused.1-2

1. Report California's Closure Law upheld: Shield Law over-ruled, (23 January, 1982) Editor and Publisher, p. 16.

2. Information as to later developments by way of appeal was not available.

Disclosure of Sources of Information by Mass Media Back

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