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SPJ Seeks NY Appeals Court Support For Fox Journalist

The Society of Professional Journalists is coming to the aid of investigative reporter Jana Winter.

Winter's attorneys are to appear in a New York appeals court Tuesday seeking to quash a subpoena requiring her to appear in a Colorado court. Winter faces possible jail time for refusing to reveal sources for a story about the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting.

"It's imperative the court end this now," said SPJ President David Cuillier Monday in advance of SPJ's court appearance. "Winter should not be punished for doing her job, which includes protecting the identity of sources who come forward to help the public only if their identities can be protected."

In Winter's favor is that she is based in New York, which SPJ points out has one of the strongest shield laws including an absolute privilege from revealing confidential sources. Working against her is that Colorado's shield law is not as strong and has a balancing test that allows the judge to determine whether the reporter has to testify.

"Winter deserves the protections of New York," Cuillier said in a statement. "Just because Colorado can't get its act together does not mean journalists elsewhere should be punished." The New York Supreme Court has twice refused to quash the subpoena.