Survey of Washington Law: Evidence: Journalist’s Privilege

IN CRIMINAL CASES, A JOURNALIST NOW HAS A COMMON LAW QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE TO WITHHOLD THE IDENTITY OF CONFIDENTIAL NEWS SOURCES AND INFORMATION OBTAINED WHILE GATHERING NEWS. State v. Rinaldo, 102 Wn. 2d 749, 689 P.2d 392 (1984).

In State v. Rinaldo, the Washington Supreme Court extended to journalists a common law qualified privilege to withhold the identity of a confidential news source in the context of criminal cases. Two years earlier, the Washington Supreme Court had given journalists such a privilege in civil cases. Under Rinaldo, a journalist can claim a privilege when subpoenaed to appear in a Washington court to reveal information gathered from confidential sources.

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Gary Green, Survey of Washington Law: Evidence: Journalist’s Privilege, 20 Gonz. L. Rev. 301 (1984).

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