Amicus

Short for amicus curiae, or "friend of the court." Independent groups like the Reporters Committee file amicus curiae briefs when they are not otherwise directly involved in a case, to lend the media's perspective on the legal issues before the court.

Supreme Court requires police to obtain warrants before searching cell phones

Bradleigh Chance | Reporter's Privilege | News | June 25, 2014
News
June 25, 2014

The Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in favor of digital privacy Wednesday that says police generally need a search warrant to examine an arrested person’s cell phone.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a sweeping opinion, stating that digital devices contain collections of potentially sensitive information. The Court rejected arguments that searching a cellphone is akin to examining anything else officers might find on someone they arrest.

“Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse,” Roberts wrote.

The opinion still allows police to search cell phones without warrants under “exigent circumstances.” This includes “ticking-bomb scenarios” or instances when there’s reason to believe evidence is going to be destroyed.

Va. high court clarifies FOIA exemption, redaction fee issues in case over climate change controversy

Emily Grannis | Freedom of Information | News | April 17, 2014
News
April 17, 2014

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled this morning that the University of Virginia does not have to release certain emails sent to and from a former professor.

The American Tradition Institute (now the Energry and Environmental Legal Institute) requested emails under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act from Michael Mann, a climate scientist and then-professor at UVA, in 2011. He intervened in the case at the trial level, alleging that the university was not sufficiently representing his privacy and academic freedom rights in a controversy surrounding climate change research.

Reporters Committee lauds federal court's ruling that secret Del. court arbitration is unconstitutional

Press Release | August 30, 2012
August 30, 2012
Reporters Committee lauds federal court's ruling that secret Del. court arbitration is unconstitutional

A federal judge in Delaware stood up for the right to be informed about important disputes that may affect public health and safety Thursday when she declared unconstitutional state court rules that allow blanket confidentiality in private arbitration proceedings and records.

Reporters Committee asks Supreme Court to clarify high standard for sealing entire cases, dockets

Press Release | August 27, 2012
August 27, 2012
Reporters Committee asks Supreme Court to clarify high standard for sealing entire cases, dockets

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving a 12-year, blanket sealing order in a criminal case alleging organized crime, racketeering, conspiracy and fraud.

Federal appeals court affirms right to access voter registration applications

You-Jin Han | Freedom of Information | News | June 15, 2012
News
June 15, 2012

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond (4th Cir.) affirmed today that Virginia election officials violated the National Voter Registration Act by refusing to release completed voter registration applications. The court found that once the applicants' social security numbers were redacted, their applications were "unquestionably" public under the law.

Reporters Committee urges federal court to allow challenge of policy that restricts access to court records

Press Release | June 6, 2012
June 6, 2012
Reporters Committee urges federal court to allow challenge of policy that restricts access to court records

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has asked a federal appellate court to reverse a lower court ruling that could severely curtail the news media's ability to challenge state court policies that deny access to judicial proceedings and records.

First Amendment prevents prosecution for recording police performance of public duties

Chris Healy | Newsgathering | News | May 8, 2012
News
May 8, 2012

The Illinois Eavesdropping Act, one of the broadest restrictions on audio recording nationwide, is likely unconstitutional and may not be enforced against the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois when it records conversations of police officers openly engaged in their public duties, a federal appellate court ruled today.

Police do not intend to enforce Illinois eavesdropping law during NATO summit

Rachel Bunn | Newsgathering | News | April 30, 2012
News
April 30, 2012

Journalists opposing the controversial Illinois eavesdropping statute expressed relief when a Chicago official announced that police do not plan to enforce the law when the city hosts the NATO summit in May. A state representative also introduced a bill last week to make it legal to audio record police officers in public.

Supreme Court weighs arguments in Stolen Valor case

Rachel Bunn | Prior Restraints | Feature | February 22, 2012
Feature
February 22, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case that questions the constitutionality of a statute which criminalizes false statements about the receipt of military medals.

Names of police in Long Beach shootings subject to release

Rachel Bunn | Freedom of Information | Feature | February 10, 2012
Feature
February 10, 2012

The names of city of Long Beach police officers involved in shootings are subject to disclosure under the California Open Records Act, a California appeals court ruled this week.

The Second Appellate Court District upheld a lower court's finding that the release of the names of Long Beach police officers who were involved in shootings was not an invasion of privacy and the names were not protected as part of personnel or investigative files under the law.