Q&A: Reporting on deposition

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From Herald-Republican (Angola):

Q: A murder trial has started. The father of the defendant has given the newspaper a copy of his deposition with the county prosecutor in which he says he, not his son, shot the victim in a struggle over a weapon drawn by the victim. Can the newspaper run the story on this deposition?

A: Yes, the newspaper has done nothing illegal to obtain the deposition, and it’s obviously newsworthy since it refutes the charges made against the son, although one could question whether the father is telling the truth.

With the jury already selected, the judge can always admonish them not to read any newspapers or even sequester them to prevent them from hearing information not presented as evidence in the trial, if you are concerned about its impact on the ongoing trial.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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