Initially, the court finds that the Broadcasting Company did not supply any information regarding the homicide and rape/kidnapping to the police. It only filmed what occurred during the investigation and interviewed certain persons. It has not supplied law enforcement agents with any of the tapes that were not aired on the program and would claim the media privilege should the government request the outtakes.
A Kings Prostitution Lawyer said that, an independent production company that produces documentaries used by various cable television stations. The production company decided that it would produce a documentary about sexual exploitation of female minors. As part of the potential documentary, it investigated minor prostitutes and females who enrolled in the Educational Mentoring Service (GEMS). GEMS is a program which attempts to mainstream former prostitutes. The production company went to GEMS and interviewed various females who were attempting to escape the life of prostitution. Each person interviewed was promised that their interview would not be disclosed without the consent of the interviewee. No documentary has yet been produced or aired.
A Kings Patronizing Prostitution Lawyer said that, the defendant seeks the tape of the interview for the potential use as impeachment material should it testify contrary to any of her statements made to the production company. The production company moves to quash the subpoena on the ground of the privilege contained in Civil Rights Law § 79-h. STP claims that the material is covered by the absolute privilege in Civil Rights Law § 79-h for confidential matters. The defendant admits that he cannot establish the three-prong test contained in Civil Rights Law § 79-h for non-confidential matters let alone any test for confidential material, but alleges that Civil Rights Law § 79-h violates his constitutional rights. As a subsidiary issue, the defendant alleges that the production company is not a covered entity under Civil Rights Law § 79-h.
The issue in this case is whether the Broadcasting and Production Companies are covered by Civil Rights Law § 79-h privilege.
The court finds, as a matter of fact, that the broadcasting company is not a governmental agent and is covered by the Civil Rights Law § 79-h privilege. The court finds that the production company and the news caster are “news agency” and “professional journalist,” respectively, within Civil Rights Law § 79-h (a) (3) and (a) (6). Further, the court finds that the subject matter constitutes “news” as defined in Civil Rights Law § 79-h (a) (8).
Both defendants allege that Civil Rights Law § 79-h is unconstitutional because it deprives them of their constitutional rights. Neither defendant has been able to identify the exact constitutional right that the statute impinges. Both defendants make the generalized claim that the statute violates due process of law, the right to confront or cross-examine witnesses or the Compulsory Process Clause of the Constitution.
To Be Cont…