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Branzburg v. Hayes

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Constitutional Law Keyed to Sullivan

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Citation. 408 U.S. 665,92 S. Ct. 2646,33 L. Ed. 2d 626,1972 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. After being requested to testify in front of grand juries as to the identities and activities of their confidential sources, three journalists unsuccessfully claimed that the identity of their confidential sources was protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution).

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Requiring reporters to disclose confidential information to grand juries serves a “compelling” state interest and does not violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.


Facts. Three journalists refused to appear and testify in front of grand juries as to the identities and activities of some of their confidential sources from which they obtained information in order to write articles. The reporters sought a conditional privilege that would have barred their mandatory appearance in front of the grand jury unless the Government could demonstrate that they possessed information relevant to a crime and that the information they possessed was unavailable from other sources.

Issue. Whether requiring newsmen to appear and testify in front of grand juries about information they received in confidence violates their rights to freedom of speech and press under the First Amendment of the Constitution?

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