Free Press

Judge Tries To Extort Confidential Source From Reporter in Holmes Case

First Amendment implications, in spades


The reporter who broke the exclusive story about a notebook that Colorado shooter James Holmes sent to his psychiatrist is in a courtroom this morning, facing contempt and possible jail time in a case experts say has chilling ramifications for the First Amendment.

Jana Winter is set to appear before Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester, who required her in response to a Holmes' defense attorney request that she reveal the sources of her story. Attorneys for Fox News objected to the Winter subpoena. They declined to comment on the case in advance of the hearing.

The case is being monitored by First Amendment watchdogs and journalism advocates, who said Sylvester is sending an ominous message to the media – as well as the public – in asking Winter to reveal her sources.