Magazine article The Quill

Appeals Court Lifts Contempt Citations

Magazine article The Quill

Appeals Court Lifts Contempt Citations

Article excerpt

Contempt citations against two North Carolina reporters have been dropped after a federal appeals court reversed a judge's earlier ruling. The two reporters had read secret court papers and refused to identify confidential sources, according to The Associated Press.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 6 overturned the case against Cory Reiss and Kirsten B. Mitchell, reporters for the Morning Star of Wilmington, N.C.

Three years ago, Reiss and Mitchell reported on a confidential $36 million settlement between Conoco Oil Co. and residents of a Wilmington neighborhood.

The appeals panel said the settlement documents were improperly sealed because interested parties were not allowed to object.

"The court's opinion vindicates our belief they (the reporters) did the right thing," said attorney Hal Chen, who helped represent the newspaper's parent company, The New York Times Co. …

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