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‘Kill Him’ Reporter And The ‘Shield Law’

Perhaps it is just a coincidence. But one of the more recent stories filed by David “Kill Him” Singleton for the Scranton Times-Tribune was about a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that reaffirmed that state’s extensive “shield law.”

Indeed, the case involved Mr. Singleton’s very own newspaper.

From the Scranton Times-Tribune:

Court says newspaper able to protect source

BY DAVID SINGLETON
STAFF WRITER

Published: Friday, September 26, 2008

The Times-Tribune cannot be forced to disclose the identity of a confidential source for stories about a statewide grand jury investigation of the Lackawanna County Prison, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a reaffirmation of the state’s Shield Law.

In a 4-1 decision, the court rejected a request by former county Commissioners Randall A. Castellani and Joseph J. Corcoran to create an exception to the law in cases where a source’s communication to the news media constitutes a criminal act.

“The news media have a right to report news, regardless of how the information was received,” Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille wrote in the 26-page majority opinion.

Refusing to diverge from its previous interpretations of the “plain text” of the statute, the court found the Shield Law provides the news media with absolute protection against the compelled disclosure of a source’s identity or information that could expose the identity.

Major media organizations around the nation had urged the court to reaffirm the law. Teri Henning, general counsel for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, called the court’s ruling well-reasoned and appropriate…

The decision involves nearly identical stories published in the Jan. 12, 2004, editions of The Scranton Times and The Tribune about Mr. Castellani and Mr. Corcoran’s testimony before a grand jury looking into corruption at the county jail. Citing a source close to the investigation, the newspapers reported the commissioners were evasive and non-cooperative during their grand jury appearances.

As part of the civil case, county Judge Robert A. Mazzoni in 2005 ordered the newspaper to reveal the identity of its source, ruling the importance of grand jury secrecy outweighed Shield Law protections

The former commissioners said the Shield Law should not protect The Times-Tribune because its source’s disclosure of secret grand jury information was a criminal act.

The Supreme Court soundly rejected the argument. Although the justices said they shared Judge Mazzoni’s concern for the integrity of the process, hampering the news media in the performance of their work will not prevent violations of grand jury secrecy. Rather, they said, safeguarding the process is the responsibility of grand jury participants and the courts…

The newspaper’s attorney, J. Timothy Hinton Jr., said the court recognized the purpose of the Shield Law is to protect the free flow of information to the media and allow newspapers and other news organizations to serve the public

So even in the case of a criminal act, reporters for the Scranton Times-Tribune cannot be forced to divulge their sources — even if they make them up.

You have to wonder if this court decision didn’t convince David Singleton that he had little to fear when he (apparently) made up his story that someone shouted “kill him” about Barack Obama at a recent Palin rally in Pennsylvania.

For the record, 32 states have “shield laws,” which vary widely in the amount of protection given to journalists.

Pennsylvania happens to have one of the most extensive.

Reporters like Mr. Singleton make one wonder if that is such a good thing after all.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, October 17th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

19 Responses to “‘Kill Him’ Reporter And The ‘Shield Law’”

  1. 1sttofight says:

    Lets see if I have this right, a reporter can make up sutff and defame anyone they please with no recourse for the person/entity defamed/slandered. But if Joe Average Citizen does the same they could be sued for slander and/or defamation?
    Is that the way it is?

  2. GuppyNblue says:

    The first amendment assures that no law shall be made which would abridge the freedom of the press. The amendment grants protection – that’s all. It tells us what Congress may not do. It doesn’t say Congress may make laws which grant legal immunity to the press.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    I guess I will go to a theater tonigh and sceam,”FIRE!”
    They are not going to take my vote from me. And if Im labeled a RACIST….so be it!! At least “I” am not dead….yet!! OBAMA will not win….count on it!!

  4. Odie44 says:

    What exactly qualifies one to be a “journalist?” I would think the Constitution places “citizens” over “journalists”, as in “We the people”, not “We the journalists”

    And didn’t the whole Plame case prove to us we cannot allow so-called journalists free reign to hide identities of “sources” over slandered individuals, in order to prove ones innocence?

    Madness.

  5. U NO HOO says:

    And, I believe, the secret service has disproven the “kill him” rumor.

    Scranton is a good town to be from.

  6. Odie44 says:

    U No HOO:

    True, yet that didn’t stop Obama AFTER the Secret Service disproved this from mentioning it at Wed.’s debate. Even more pathetic – he was trying to make a case for McCain’s unwillingness to reign down such “threats”.

    He lied about a lie to lie.

  7. 1laidbackRN says:

    “Lets see if I have this right, a reporter can make up sutff and defame anyone they please with no recourse for the person/entity defamed/slandered. But if Joe Average Citizen does the same they could be sued for slander and/or defamation?
    Is that the way it is?”

    You know it 1st. Plain and simple it’s politicians protecting their friends and allies the MSM. Try living the life of a politician and see what it would get “Joe Average American”.

  8. Exeter says:

    thelight – you really need to pull your head out of your ass. Did you even read the article above? NO ONE at the Palin rally shouted “kill him” – the reporter made it up.

    But this obviously doesn’t matter to you, since you went on to write:

    “it will be war in the United States”
    “anyone that wants Barack Obama dead is a racist”
    “what’s new among the 60% white supremacy in the United States”
    “he is not afraid to step on the rich and so called powerful toes”
    “Barack Obama is ready to fight for us while others are killing us”

    Not exactly Christian talk. Who’s the hater here?

  9. sheehanjihad says:

    thelight…you are precisely the reason I am so happy that I will end up in hell……because If I went to heaven, I would be stuck for eternity with insufferable ignorant ass holes like you.

  10. 1sttofight says:

    thelight,
    Bring it on bad boy.
    I will put a round through your right eye before you even see me.

  11. JohnMG says:

    I could be wrong, 1st, but I haven’t seen ‘the light’ for a while now. Where do ya’ s’pose he went? Underground?

  12. Exeter says:

    We can’t even have good trolls anymore…

  13. 1sttofight says:

    Probably didn’t pay his light bill and blaming whitey for his power being cut off. ;)

  14. sheehanjihad says:

    nope, he is quaking and shaking under his desk, proud of the fact that he actually used his computer for something other than morbid self gratification while his mother works two jobs because he wont work one. Nibbling on his food stamp stubs, grinning uncontrollably at his inability to prevent bed wetting, and hoping he gets rescued from his miserable existence by the new messiah, the chosen (by the media) one.

  15. Exeter says:

    “he actually used his computer for something other than morbid self gratification”

    Well, it’s a kind of Solitare, isn’t it?

  16. Liberals Demise says:

    1sttofight
    I take it you are of Marine Corps Fire Disipline…..1 Shot / 1 Kill
    (B) reath
    (R) elax
    (A) im
    (S) ight
    (S) queeze

  17. 1sttofight says:

    Liberals Demise,

    Yes Sir. I don’t believe in wasting ammo.

  18. Liberals Demise says:

    Semper Fi my brother
    Mother Green and her Fightin’ Machine!!
    OOOOORAH!!!!


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