Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioners, Branzburg, Pappas and Caldwell, newspaper reporters (Petitioners), brought suit seeking a declaration that the freedom of the press extended to personal protection regarding sources and story information.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. This case stands for the proposition that a reporter is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution) insofar as they cannot be compelled to testify regarding their stories.
Facts. Branzburg one of the Petitioners observed the making of hashish from marijuana and was later called before a grand jury to implicate the persons involved. Two of the other Petitioners, Pappas and Caldwell, both covered the Black Panthers and were later called to a federal grand jury to discuss their findings. All three reporters refused to participate in the grand juries claiming a newman’s privilege.
Issue. This case considers whether reporters are to be held to the same standards as other citizens, which would subject them to grand jury testimony.