Clipped From The Galveston Daily News
Supreme Court rules for media in riot case The Associated Press LANSING, Mich. - Eleven newspapers and television stations don't have to give prosecutors unpublished photographs and video of a campus riot that prosecutors want for their investigation, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled. The court said the wrong kind of subpoena was used, and sent the case back to District Court so prosecutors could request a type of subpoena known as an investigative subpoena. But even if prosecutors make that request, it is unlikely the case would go very far. A Circuit Court judge has already forbidden the use of investigative subpoenas in the case. Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III was unavailable for comment Friday, an assistant prosecutor said. Dunnings sought hundreds of unpublished photographs and video footage taken the night of March 27, when more than 5,000 people rioted on the Michigan State University campus and in downtown East Lansing. The riots began in the final moments of the NCAA semifinal basketball game, which Michigan State lost to Duke. In addition to the Detroit Free Press, media involved in the case are the Lansing State Journal, The State News — Michigan State's student newspaper — and eight TV stations. Herschel Fink, an attorney for the Detroit Free Press, said they were pleased with the decision. The news outlets contend that turning over unpublished photos and video would compromise their ability to gather the news. Fink has said that such orders place reporters in jeopardy by forcing them to act as agents of the police. Two lower court judges have ruled the materials aren't protected because the riot was filmed in a public place and media laws are only meant to protect confidential sources. The judges have also ruled that people filming the riot were witnesses to crimes and are therefore compelled to give evidence to prosecutors. In addition to the Free Press, media involved in the case are the Lansing State Journal, The State News — Michigan State's student newspaper — and eight TV stations.