Today, Slabbed New Media filed a Motion to Quash and/or for Protective Order in the civil suit styled Magnolia Group v O’Dwyer Realty et al in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. In the Motion and Memorandum of law in support, Sole Owner/Publisher of Slabbed New Media, Douglas Handshoe argued that certain discovery requests were being made for materials covered by the qualified reporter’s privilege applicable in the United States 5th Circuit.
“Slabbed New Media believes that off record communications should remain exactly that”, said Handshoe, who’s website is locally renowned for its coverage of the massive political corruption scandal in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana which included bribery and money laundering schemes involving former Parish President Aaron Broussard and certain contractors for the Parish of Jefferson and other prosecutions which collapsed under the weight of the US Attorney Commenting Scandal.
“Trust is the only currency that is readily tradable in the field of investigative journalism. Sources take massive amounts of personal risk to leak information on public wrongdoing to investigative journalists, such no doubt part of the reason the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals created the qualified privilege for journalists.”, opined Handshoe. ”It is my hope to return to reporting the events of the Bay Tech case, instead of participating in discovery fights in the case itself.”
Full docket text for document 47:
ORDER AND REASONS ON MOTION of The Times-Picayune to Quash, Record Doc. No. 42. IT IS ORDERED that the motion is DENIED IN PART insofar as it requests that the subpoena be quashed in its entirety such that no production of any kind might be required. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, however, that the motion is GRANTED IN PART, but only in that the subpoena is modified as follows. As issued, the subpoena required production of the requested information by The Times-Picayune directly to defense counsel at his office on February 3, 2014. Record Doc. No. 41. The “Place for Production” and “Date for Production” provisions of the subpoena are hereby modified to require instead that The Times-Picayune must produce, no later than February 19, 2014 at 5:00 p.m., all information responsive to the subpoena directly to me in my chambers for my in camera review. If I determine based upon my in camera review that aircheck and jammer1954 are citizens without connection to the prosecution, their First Amendment right to anonymous speech will outweigh the Due Process rights of the defendant and no further disclosure, production or inspection of the information will be permitted. Otherwise, whether and, if so, how and when the responsive information may be made available to the parties for inspection will be established by further order of the court. Signed by Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Wilkinson, Jr on 2/14/14. (tbl)
How did Slabbed know what the Magistrate would do? (WWMD?) Before I get to that here is the order and reasons for those that want to see a Magistrate Judge being consistent in how he applies the law.