USA Today journalist Toni Locy,was ordered by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to pay dearly for not revealing her sources.
Until she does, Walton ruled last week, Locy must pay out of her own pocket daily contempt-of-court fines that would increase from $500 the first week to $1,000 the second week to $5,000 thereafter.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed Walton’s order during Locy’s appeal, raising hopes that she might prevail. Even if she does, other reporters could be pressed to choose between bankruptcy and a violation of professional ethics. Until the Supreme Court reverses a wrongheaded 1972 holding that the 1st Amendment does not protect a reporter’s privilege, protection must come from Congress.
USA Today‘s Ken Paulson chimes in and breaks it down:
In its most basic terms, Locy is being punished by one arm of the government for listening to another arm of the government.
That’s how ‘Kristen‘ must feel about Client #9.