1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Balco leak uncovered

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by pressboxer, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. I'm sure it has a beat.
    Please use a hanky before resuming work on it.
  2. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Actually, I was referring to something at the link.

    But I'm sure you and the pigeons will find it later, when you're out of crumbs and need some entertainment.
  3. The Book is closed for this evening.
    Chapter Five -- The Poloponies Years -- will begin later.
    Time to trim the dumbass kudzu again.
  4. zaphod

    zaphod New Member

    Uh, no, they're not. Because such circumstances could not, by definition, involve journalists in the first place. A journalist never is in a position by which he or she could "unseal" (i.e., leak) anything. Journalists do not have custody of secret information. There are, theoretically, unlimited circumstances under which a journalist could disobey a judge's order. None of them include an order to refrain from leaking information. Such information would not be known to a journalist until after it had been leaked.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    First, go back and read the statutes.

    Second, this claim that journalists don't have custody of secret information is exactly the kind of ridiculous statement I'm talking about. I'll go very slowly so you can understand:

    The defense attorney is ALWAYS going to have information almost no one else will have. That's because said defense attorney has sworn not to disclose this info.

    If said defense attorney gives that information to our heroes Bo and Luke, it has been leaked. Bo and Luke still have a choice as to whether to run with it. If they don't, no one knows there's been a leak. They would have custody of secret information.

    Let's say that down the road, Coy and Vance hit town and get the same info. They publish it. Eventually said defense attorney admits to leaking. In the process, said attorney says he gave the same info to Bo and Luke. They now have the unsealed, sealed information.

    Even if you and the other Kool-Aid drinkers do the inevitable and disregard this scenario, there are many, many others where journalists do have "secret" information. Most of them choose to be responsible and get confirmation before running with it.
  6. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Once again, you don't have a clue what you're talking about.

    A defense lawyer isn't "ALWAYS going to have information almost no one else will have," as you so wrongly put it. That's because defense lawyers aren't allowed inside grand jury proceedings. They can only sit outside; their clients are allowed to go outside to consult with them. So the defense attorney doesn't even know what his client said. The potential defendant and his attorney are also not there when other witnesses testify, so they very often don't have a clue what those witnesses said.

    The only way a defense lawyer (and his client) get access to grand jury testimony in a Federal case, is if an indictment is handed down. And then, the only grand jury testimony they are given are the transcripts of witnesses who testified before the grand jury that are going to testify on behalf of the prosecution during the trial. The testimony for just those witnesses is given to the defense during pre-trial discovery, to use for possible impeachment of the witness.

    When grand jury testimony is leaked, 999 times out of 1000, it is the prosecutor who leaked it, not the defense. This makes sense logistically and logically. Logistically, the prosecutor, unlike a defense attorney, actually has access to all of the testimony (the part you got wrong). Logically, it is usually the prosecutor who has reason to leak testimony, not the defense. A defense attorney in most cases has no reason to leak testimony, which was gotten in an attempt to indict his client. Most grand jury testimony is going to make the defendant look guilty. The prosecutor has all the reason to leak it--to play out the trial in the court of public opinion--and the defense attorney has reason to keep it hidden from the public.

    In this case, it isn't apparent--at least on the surface--why the defense would have shared the grand jury the prosecution handed over. Since the defendants pled guilty, and the cases have already been settled, though, if they leaked the info after the cases were settled, there wouldn't have been any risk to talking to the reporters--other than the risk of getting caught and facing a contempt or criminal charge for leaking it.
  7. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    This may be the most moronic statement of anything the Kool-Aid drinkers have offered so far.

    So you would have us believe someone would be subpoenaed, but would choose not to get any kind of legal advice before testifying? Obviously someone would go over with an attorney what might be asked, what the response would be, etc.

    You also say the witness would consult with the lawyer. I don't know if this is what you mean or yet another example of someone leaving out the word "not."

    But if someone would consult with the lawyer, I would think the lawyer would have information about what was asked, what was said, etc.

    Also, I seem to remember one of Bo and Luke's claims was that the testimony already had been unsealed for sharing with other parties -- which probably included the defense. If that's true, then even if what you had said HAD made sense, it would be somewhat moot.

    I realize you and the other Kool-Aid drinkers are going to keep coming up with some sort of hypothetical and using it to obscure reality. That's why the call for "SHIEEEEEEEEEEEELDLAW" will always be flawed; the heart of journalism is presenting all the facts. For "SHIIEEEEEEEEEEEELDLAW" the facts are still concealed.

    That's where the real Game of Shadows lies.
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    What about what you quoted from me is incorrect? You called it "moronic." So you are not only wrong, as usual you are compounding it by being obnoxious and wrong.

    Tell me what is incorrect about what I wrote? You can't, and as always, you won't address it head on, because it would mean admitting you are wrong. I'm not slightly right. I'm VERY right. What *I* typed (and you quoted) was 100 percent factually correct. It is inarguable. And since it is correct, what you had written--and which I responded to--was wrong. To make sure there is a permanent record and proof that you are ignorant and ill-informed, I'll quote it:

    Love how you made ALWAYS all caps. You didn't know what you are talking about. But you'll never admit it--at this point, facts be damned.

    A defense lawyer usually DOESN'T know the testimony that was given before a grand jury. Fact. A defense lawyer never steps foot inside a grand jury room. Fact. He has no idea what any witness said, other than his client--and that's generously assuming his client can remember exactly what he said and relay it accurately. Fact. (and that isn't really important, because the defendant as a witness, does not have to keep his testimony secret. He can walk out of the grand jury and repeat exactly what he said, or tell his lawyer and have him repeat it.) If the defense lawyer does see any testimony, it is only the testimony of witnesses who are going to be called at trial, and the lawyer only sees that testimony if the trial progresses to the point of pretrial discovery. Fact.

    What I typed above is lucid and factual. So naturally, you'll ignore it, hurl an uncreative insult, and then create a strawman argument, so you can make an ass of yourself by arguing more nonsensical crap that has nothing to do with anything. Have fun arguing with yourself.
  9. zaphod

    zaphod New Member

    Precisely, and this is where the legal question, so far as it involves journalists, ends. Thank you for conceding the point.

    True, but this is no longer a legal question. It is an ethics question, out of reach of the law. A judge may not issue an order to Bo and Luke to refrain from publication, because that would be prior restraint. That's unconstitutional. The "secrecy" of the information in question is irrelevant. As a legal concept, "secret" applies only to government custodians of information. It is not permitted, under the First Amendment, to apply to journalists.

    Again, irrelevant from a legal standpoint.

    If there were to be any contempt finding against the journalists, it would have zero to do with the substance of the information itself or its potential publication. It would be confined to compelling the journalists to reveal the source of leaked information. That is a very different, very crucial, distinction.

    And that is why shield laws are needed.
  10. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Way to miss the entire point, which was the witness likely would go over potential questions and testimony with an attorney before testifying.
  11. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I stopped reading your argument after you started going all over the place. You claimed there NEVER could be secret information. I proved you wrong, so you started arguing everything possible under the sun, then ended predictably with "SHIEEEEEEEEEEEELDLAW!"

    The rest of your babbling about prior restraint, etc., has little to nothing to do with the Balco investigation. You seem to be lost in the journalism world's Game of Shadows. Better find a flashlight, fast.
  12. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    BTW, Ragump, I found this little tidbit about what Bo and Luke's lawyers believe:

    "They believe that when the U.S. Attorney's office released the grand jury transcripts to the BALCO defense teams, the government removed that information from the domain of the grand jury and put it into the public."

    In other words, the defense teams already had the information.

    I got that straight from the Free Bo and Luke site.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page