Magazine article Editor & Publisher

California Papers Gearing Up for Court Battle

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

California Papers Gearing Up for Court Battle

Article excerpt

CALIFORNIA NEWSPAPERS ARE gearing up for a court battle to quash what are described as highly unusual subpoenas for unpublished material from jail house interviews with an alleged kidnapper.

One of the subpoena recipients, Marty Weybret, editor of the family-owned Lodi News-Sentinel, termed the request "unique and dangerous" since it comes from the prosecutor, not the defense attorney.

Weybret asked the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) for help in fighting the subpoena. He said both the paper's attorney and CNPA counsel Tom Newton concluded that no published precedent exists for such requests from prosecutors.

Prepared by Deputy District Attorney Robert Johnson, the subpoenas were issued by San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Stephen Demetras to the News-Sentinel, San Francisco Chronicle, three television channels and a radio station in Northern California, the latter for their outtakes.

Chronicle attorney W. Ronald Ingram said the paper would also move to quash the subpoena. Brent Baader, news director of Channel 31 in Sacramento, said he turned over only footage that was boradcast.

"We recycle tapes daily and keep no raw material around in any case," he added.

The subpoenas are in connection with the kidnapping of 12-year-old Katie Romanek last July.

She was found unharmed but naked in a field during a huge search involving 100 police officers and 300 volunteers. Steven Cochran, a drifter found wandering in the area, was arrested and subsequently arriagned on a kidnapping charge.

The News-Sentinel, Chronicle and broadcast stations asked for an interview with Cochran, and he agreed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.