Journalist To Be Fined Up To $5,000 Per Day

This is still America, right?

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There’s a disturbing trend in the American courts: the punishment of journalists for doing their jobs. The latest victim: Toni Locy, journalism professor and former USA Today reporter.

Federal Court Judge Reggie B. Walton is charging Locy with contempt of court for not revealing a source who supplied her with information for a story about the Feds’ investigation into anthrax attacks back in 2001.

Contempt wouldn’t be so bad, but Walton is seeking to bankrupt Locy if she doesn’t fess up to who provided her with the information–$500 daily this week, $1,000 daily next week, and then $5,000 per day after that.

Isn’t government-sanctioned extortion fun, kids?

Locy can’t pay the fine, not on a reporter’s or university professor’s salary.

What’s next Judge Walton? Waterboarding?

Is this going to be more common occurrence since the judicial ice was broken with Judith Miller?

It’s like America has turned into China. How long until journalists are jailed or outrageously fined for "revealing state secrets?"

Journalist To Be Fined Up To $5,000 Per Day
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  • Guest

    Wow, talk about biased and misleading, the sources are being sought in connection with a PRIVATE CIVIL SUIT by one of the people that she named in her article as a person of interest… someone never charged with a crime. He’s suing the federal government and HIS lawyers want the sources. This has ZERO to do with the government trying to bully the journalist. Check your facts, Jason.

    • http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com ron

      Always check your facts or you lose all credibility.I am surprised that the lady concerned did not cite an anonymous source or credible none traceable one. The right of the press to protect their sources should be the same in criminal as well as civil law otherwise as in this case powerful people will be able to prevent importaint information to be made public by destroying the reporter.



      • Guest

        I don’t know all of the details of this case, but if she named someone innocent as a person of interest and it damaged that person’s repuation, then it’s libel and either the reporter or her source should be held liable for the damages.  If something is presented as fact in a news article, then it needs to be backed up by something credible, not just the journalist’s word that they have a reliable source.

    • Jason Lee Miller

      It’s like you’re yelling at me.

      Check your facts, too. It’s not the lawyers that are fining her, in my opinion, cruelly and unusually, but the federal judge, a government employee who’d apparently will do anything to make her break her commitment to her source, a commitment that protects whistleblowers everywhere.

  • Guest

    I think journalists should be fined. They’re leading to the fall of this country. They’ll report anything to make a buck and get 5 minutes of fame. Just look at Jason Lee Miller misreporting this story to make himself feel important and believe that he has a cause.
    Lose some weight, get rid of the teen look and report without bias and you’ll have a chance of being somebody respectable.

    • Jason Lee Miller

      Orson Wells will be upset to hear that…

      and I’m fatter now than when I took that “teen look” picture…actually there was a stuffier pic of me that was up there for 3 years…decided i should be more relatable, Mr. Judge-a-book-by-its-cover

      and, “Guest,” if that is your real name, this wasn’t reporting, it was pretty obvious from the words “disturbing trend” that it was an editorial of some kind, and at least I put my pic and name out there with my opinions, “Guest.”

      last i checked, bias was somewhat standard fare in editorials

      as for being somebody “respectable,” Guest, I could give you a resume, give you some references, let you talk to some preachers and teachers, my boss, my friends, my wife, etc., but I don’t need to. I didn’t have some need to respond to you and defend myself either, but one of the philosophies here is to interact and be more accessible to the reader


      The fat, biased, not-a-reporter-in-this-case, not-respectable, poor-self-image-having, looks-too-young-to-be-a-professional, nobody who uses his full name next to his opinions as well as his picture

      • crowmd

         You go man

      • Guest

        Apparently you DID need to reply and justify yourself since you DID write back.
        You’re fatter now! You should be ashamed of yourself, but this is what our country is coming to. A bunch of morons giving their opinions when they don’t have all the facts.
        It looks like Rome is falling all over again. When fat morons who lie in the face of others are in charge of political office, the media and multi billion dollar corporation’s the country will fail! Hey I shouldn’t blame you though you’re just following along… but wait so did the Germans during the Nazi regime.

        • Jason Lee Miller

          Like I said I don’t need to justify myself. I am a pretty neat guy in my opinion. Just engaging your (specious, perhaps entirely fallacious) objections.

          I liked the way you invoked Godwin’s Law by the way. Nice.

          I didn’t like the way you spammed the comments section though, so I unpublished any redundant posts.

          Good luck with that temper. Might want to check into a nice, reputable blood pressure medicine.

  • Chas

    If journalists don’t want to reveal sources they need to take the data and confirm it in another way. If they can’t then it is just heresay and rumor. It has no business anywhere except a gossip column.

    Freedom of the press does not mean the freedom to spread rumor or heresay without consequences. Opinion belongs on the editorial page proper labeled as opinion and not news.

    The news media in this country has so prevented the First Amendment from what it was intended that our founding fathers would not recognize the practice of modern journalism as a protected area.

    Opinion, distortion and outright lies are the new standard in American journalism and I find it disgusting. When I taught my High School business class (I taught one class a day as a volunteer) I had a whole section on how journalists and advertisers distort facts and at times deliberately mislead the public and occasionally are caught in down right lies.

    The only problem with the fines is they are too low. I suggest a few nights in the county jail surrounded by the scum of the earth. That brings a world of privilege into focus in a hurry.





    • Geist

      What the hell? You know nothing boob. Why don’t you read up a little on the First, heck even the wiki entry? You’re pretty misinformed on the history of our greatest right, nor the history or current state of journalism.

    • Guest

      I doubt the founding fathers would not recognize the practice of modern corruption as a protected area either.

      No doubt the media do distort the truth, but so do people in position’s of power.

      The judge how is he appointed?, more for who he knows than what he knows, and I doubt very much that he’s squeaky clean.

      From what I read of American politician’s Ron Paul’s the only honest one?, and that’s not including the faceless people that help run national & local government.

      Looks like somebody needs to really dig into the affairs of the judge and the instigator. But does one really know who the real instigator is?

      Also the initial problem could have been caused by someone supplying the wrong information purposely to screw up the lives of the people involved.

      And you taught, do you have a real job as well? I have a lot of experience with teachers and lecturers, and most have inflated ego’s about there abilities, and invariably abuse there position also.

      Cause it also looks like your country is now paying for the crap goverment the majority of you have voted in.  Suggest you vote Obama in, at least you have a minute chance of clearing up some of the crap.




  • GR Iyengar

    Well this is not new… this is quite obvious to occur… or to say the imposition of fine can be enfored (a minor probability) that only on pressure from FBI / Government of US so as to find out the mole in the FBI and check out futher loop holes…. so that such reports never comes out in near future….

    So that Whether true/false any report relating to FBI or Govt. does not crops up or no one dares to declare such reports to Reporters or any other person of society with out Politician’s confirmation…

  • Guest

    "the sources are being sought in connection with a PRIVATE CIVIL SUIT by one of the people that she named in her article as a person of interest… someone never charged with a crime."

    It shouldn’t matter who is the plaintiff, or what court it is.  The right for journalists to keep their sources anonymous is integral if a free press is to keep the government in line as intended by the founding fathers.  The horrifying thing about this story is that the judicial system has failed to protect the rights of anonymous sources.  If journalists can be compelled to reveal sources, then whistleblowers will be that much more reluctant to bring  corruption to the publics knowledge. 

    As for the individual never being charged with a crime, I don’t remember Nixon ever being taken to court either.  I know that pussy Ford pardoned him, but who knows if someone high up in the government did not smile upon this individual.  This case is just another attempt to prevent future whistle blowers from acting in the future.  (Check out wikileaks.org to see another effort)

  • Guest

    "The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" — Emile Zola, J’accuse! (1898)

  • MediaLawStudent

    The founding fathers expected this, and had you known anything about the country’s history, you’d know that freedom of the press was put there specificaly to keep our media aggressive.

    In England they had a free press,  you could say what you wanted, but if the higher ups didn’t like it you’d be thrown in jail. The pro-Jefferson newspapers at the time were engaged in sedition according to the people who were in power, and that is the very reason why the founding fathers said it’s more beneficial to have an aggressive media than a passive one.

  • Guest

    so the lesson here is that when you cite "sources" and then are asked to cough them up. make sure you keep the number of sources you have in your hip pocket until you confirm your waivers.

  • Guest

    The solution is simple, use a person resident in a foreign company to act as you legal go between ie. you do not directly know your source because all the information cam via an intermidiary. This forces full extradition prior to any charges being filed, and in terms of restrictive confidentiality requirements the person is out of harms way.

  • Guest

    Could it be that this individual has something to gain by the outing of a secret source?

  • Kyle Rhody

    Since when does someones weight or lack thereof affect their professional standing. It might affect how individual people look at you or unfortunately treat you, which is wrong in my opinion. But, this is the same as saying that a black man or yellow woman, new grad or old granpaw can not be a professional. What about the purple people eaters and the umpaloompas can they not be professionals too? ? Why does a persons race, creed, hobby, size, hair color or any other PERSONAL attribute have to have ANYTHING to do with their proffesionalism, percived personality, social skills, abilities or ability to lead a country. That is exactly what got the Germans in trouble during their Nazi regime and although millions of people might have "just followed along" it was one mans idea that those who are diffrent should be shunned, or excuse me killed; that started the whole damn mess in the first place.

    But with people like "Guest" in this world demeaning and putting down everyone who is different or original in though; hell maybe not even original but willing to speak out, it is no wonder that so many Americans and others tend to follow along with the current trend. People like you "Mr. Guest" are the root of all this evil, making people feel inferior because they "follow along", but yet as soon as someone sticks their neck out and  "has a dream"  . . . .

    BAM – someones there to take them out, cut them down and put them back in their place! 

    ***This has been a complete statement of my opinion and is only my opinion. My only source of information was my own brain and therefore it will be subjected to a few cold beers after work for having had an original thought. I am young, male, white, not fat, not skinny, dark haired and engaged, I am an American, I love life and enjoy doing things with my family, I am not rich, I am not on welfare, I work and consider myself to be normal. I also get sick to my stomach when I think about how people have turned this country into a land of freebies – not freedoms! ***

    • Jason Lee Miller


      That was a very empassioned and intelligent and touching defense.

      Thank you.

      • Kyle


        You are very welcomed. Keep up the good work!

  • Mike

    Wrong.  THAT America died on 9/11, 2001.    The U.S. is at WAR on several fronts….the problem is, "journalists" don’t understand that this is a life and death struggle….the enemy’s deaths or OURS.

    People who reveal Government secrets in time of war, whether to the "enemy"  or not, are by definition committing TREASON. 

    They are, whether or not they understand this, SELLING OUT THEIR COUNTRY in a time of war for a little notoriety or for a dollar.  They SHOULD be charged with the offense, tried and if found guilty, executed as the law provides.  That will definitely keep them from repeating the offense and futher selling out their fellow Americans, their Country and their own families.

    NO morals, NO ethics in today’s "journalism".

    Today’s "Journalists" are nothing more than spiteful children, who absolutely do NOT know the difference between ‘right and wrong’, the ‘good-guys’ and the ‘bad guys’….and that betraying your country in a newspaper, especially in time of War,  is NOT a game. 

  • http://www.lovebycity.com guest99

    Uh, you mean I have to document my sources?  Like if I was writing a paper for middle school?

    Folks, how elementary!  If you can’t caugh up a source, maybe (Ok, you are) lying!!

    I can make up juicy stories and say, "I’ve got to protect my sources".  It’s like paying rock-paper-scissors and pulling out ‘God’ instead of a rock.  How lame.

  • http://www.mydeltapi.com Draco volans

    It is not only America that are steadily more often procecuting the free expression of opinions and  information.

    In Norway, where I live, the authorities,  have instituted so wide definitions of "child pornography" and "child abuse" that any citicen having dealt with children in some way is probably guilty of these crimes as they by now are defined.

    They have also instituted so wide definitions of "terrorism" that ane act of protest or critical utterance towards the gowernment can can be regarded as "terrorism" according to the new definitions, and any interset outside the most trival dayly life interst can be regarded as planning some of these crimes.



  • http://dimemp3.com Madonna

    Well, in Russia journalists get killed for thing like that.

  • http://www.lightingsupply.com Lighting

    Outragious, what has this country come to!?!?

  • J bond

    The whole thing should never have got this far, she should have had a very plausable story to where the info had come from based on 90% fact to where she was (say a public place without cameras) this is where she was approached by a stranger who knew her (description based on somebody she knew a long time ago in case questioned) It is called something simlar to a legend (cover story used by undercover police & spys) This information can be used  one time for any story. (I am not suggesting for one min that she should have lied to the judge,but it would have been a simple way out with a bit of forthought for all concerned) PS: I am part time script writer & other things. I was caught out a long time ago will not happen again.


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