Magazine article The Quill

Supreme Court Rejects Leggett's Appeal

Magazine article The Quill

Supreme Court Rejects Leggett's Appeal

Article excerpt

Vanessa Leggett, a novice crime writer who spent more than five months in jail for refusing to turn over research notes about a Houston murder, lost a Supreme Court appeal April 15.

In turning down Leggett's request, the Court did not comment, which is common practice. Leggett had asked the Court to use her case to give writers and reporters more rights to protect the confidentiality of their sources.

Leggett was jailed longer than any U.S. writer who has used the First Amendment to reject a grand jury subpoena, The Associated Press reported.

She was released in January, a few weeks after the appeal was filed.

While the government argued that the release made her case irrelevant, Leggett's lawyer replied that she still faces the threat of a new government subpoena for her interviews and other notes.

"Courts have repeatedly acknowledged the chilling effect and resulting self censorship that discovery of a journalist's unpublished information can have on the gathering and reporting of news," her lawyer, Michael DeGuerin, wrote in urging the court to hear her appeal. …

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