This story is a hard one to place for forum. Please move as needed for best fit, if this isn't.
Well, the Aurora, Colorado shooting hasn't been in the news here for awhile. This story comes on multiple levels though and with importance across
It involves the notebook that was sent to the psychiatrist prior to the shooting with depictions of something of that nature. That is one
It involves cops who took that notebook into evidence before it became known to the public and where it had been sitting under Gag order and
seal when that leak happened.
It involves the Defense team of the Shooter and so, by extension, brings in all kinds of other things with it.
I'm writing this thread to really focus on just one
aspect though. It's not the shooter, the crime, that night or even the psychiatrist or
police. It's the fact a reporter is being subpoenaed to face an order for revealing sources on a story.
At his arraignment last week in Arapahoe County Court, defense attorney Daniel King revealed that a New York judge had signed a proposed subpoena
for Fox News reporter Jana Winter to testify at the Colorado trial.
Days after the massacre, Winter wrote an exclusive that said Holmes had sent his University of Colorado psychiatrist a notebook containing images
of "gun-wielding stick figures blowing away other stick figures" and "details about how he was going to kill people."
Though Winter did not identify the recipient of that notebook, a lawsuit filed by the widow of Jonathan Blunk, who died in the shooting, claims
that psychiatrist Lynne Fenton failed to act after Holmes told her that "he fantasized about killing a lot of people."
It's my strong belief that however seldom the press may use it well these days, the Rights of a free press are critical to freedom. A free press
cannot well function if the people to whom reporters need to get information from know they may become agents of the State or Courts, retroactively,
as this case would be doing.
Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester approved the subpoena request, saying: "The potential violation of this court's orders is a
serious issue. The information about the package contents has received significant public attention that has implicated defendant's constitutional
rights to a fair trial, to a fair and impartial jury, and to due process as protected by the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments."
He warned that any sources that lied under oath could face felony charges.
I have absolutely no problem with the Judge hunting for the leakers ...and more power to him if he can find them. I don't really take a side either
way on whether the cops who leaked it to her were right or wrong. I have no clue as to their personal motivations, obviously, as no one even knows who
they are. However, there are ways the system ought to allow this and then ..well, there are the ways of an overbearing state, IMO.
If this statement is accurate, then due to the fact that all who had access to the package denied under oath that they spoke to her or knew anyone
who spoke to her, perjury in the first degree may be implicated under CRS 18-8-502. Under Colorado law, this is a class four felony. If her assertion
is inaccurate, then substantial resources will have been unnecessarily expended pursuing this
I'm really curious on this issue, what does everyone think about it? The fundamental question and conflict here is a basic one, albeit with
potentially huge ramifications as a precedent to be set.
Are the Rights of the Free Press or the Rights of the defendant to his individual free trial (As his Defense team sees it) more important? Which takes
priority when both, in theory are Constitutional Rights and values near, dear and core to our Nation? Is there some other factor to choose which comes
before the other?
These are interesting times with interesting happenings coming daily.