The Press: Showdown on Subpoenas

The government's recent penchant for probing into newsmen's confidential information last week produced a court showdown in San Francisco. Reporter Earl Caldwell and his employer, the New York Times, had challenged two subpoenas ordering him to testify before a federal grand jury investigating Black Panthers. The result was a clear victory for Caldwell and other newsmen determined to maintain the trust of their sources.

In a pioneering decision, U.S. District Judge Alfonso J. Zirpoli held that the First Amendment rights of free speech, press and association can supersede the powers of a grand jury to compel testimony. Though Caldwell must appear before...

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