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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Powers Seeks Judicial Activism, Claims Journalist's Shield to Dodge Subpoena

Dan Willard goes to court in Lake County tomorrow for making Russ Olson feel bad with some critical anonymous robocalls last year. It is worth noting that the statute under which the state is prosecuting Willard no longer exists, and Olson will no longer be a Senator by the end of next month. But no matter: as our Oglala Sioux neighbors can attest, when you make the South Dakota GOP mad, they will come after you.

In response, Dan Willard is coming after SDGOP mouthpiece-blogger Pat Powers, subpoenaing him to testify at his trial this week. What Willard thinks he can learn from Powers in court is a mystery (one could say the same about what anyone thinks they can learn from Powers on his blog).

Whatever Willard's intent, Powers doesn't want to talk. In an affidavit submitted yesterday, Powers asks the judge to quash the subpoena, issue a protection order, and sanction Willard for being mean.

Perhaps of interest to readers of the South Dakota blogosphere is Powers's appeal to the journalistic shield principle. South Dakota has no shield law for journalists, but Powers angles for some legislation from the Lake County bench. Here are the relevant points from his affidavit [along with some editing we would expect of a journalist]:
7. Your affiant considers himself a journalist who competes with other journalists for news stories primarily focused on South Dakota state government, politics, and news stories. [News stories focused on... news stories.]

...9. Your affiant has cultivated relationships with confidential sources that provide me [sic: shift from third person to first person] information on the basis of their anonymity.

...20. If your affiant is forced to reveal any privileged information gathered as a result of my [sic] reporting and journalistic efforts, it will chill the relationship between myself [sic] and confidential news sources and critically impede the ability to report news.

21. Your affiant believes that Daniel Willard has subpoenaed me [sic] in this case in order to gather information protected by the Reporter's First Amendment Privilege [Pat Powers, affidavit, State of South Dakota vs. Daniel Willard, 2013.08.24].
Keep in mind, this is the same Pat Powers who has made false and defamatory hay of wanting to know the sources for my information. But hey, if the judge wants to extend journalist's shield protection to South Dakota bloggers, I'm game!

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