If a newsgatherer is jailed for refusing to turn over subpoenaed information, how and when is he or she released?

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

A jailed newsgatherer can be released for many reasons. Occasionally, the newsgatherer will “purge” the contempt by turning over the subpoenaed information. In other instances, an appellate court will uphold the privilege and overturn the contempt order. If the newsgatherer demonstrates enough resolve to convince the judge that the information never will be provided and that further jail time is futile, some judges will release the newsgatherer. Newsgatherers also often are released when the proceeding in which they were subpoenaed (the trial or grand jury session) ends or when the information for which they were subpoenaed is obtained from another source.