Northwestern journalism students ordered to turn over emailsPosted: September 14, 2011
Journalism students from Northwestern’s Medill College of Journalism were ordered last week to turn over emails by a Cook County judge.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Medill students, along with journalism professor David Protess, were chronicling their efforts to free Anthony McKinney—a prisoner serving a life sentence—who was accused of murdering a security guard in 1978.
These efforts are part of the Medill Innocence Project. According to their website, “Our goal is to expose wrongdoing in the criminal justice system.”
According to the Daily Northwestern, the ruling meant that students were not protected under Illinois shield laws.
Legal matters started in 2009 with a subpoena stating that the emails sent between students and the Center on Wrongful Convictions—based out of the Northwestern law school—be turned over.
Students initially turned over memos, some of the emails and class materials, but not internal emails.
The judge has given a “10-day stay” on the ruling, so an appeal can be considered, according to the Tribune.
A link to the Illinois Shield Law can be found here, http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/illinois/illinois-protections-sources-and-source-material .
What role are journalists supposed to have in relation to legal matters? Are we supposed to get involved in trying to overturn murder rulings, or any ruling? Was the judge correct in her ruling?
For more information on the Medill Innocence Project’s findings go here: http://www.medillinnocenceproject.org/mckinney