Mandell Menkes successfully fights a subpoena seeking interviews and outtakes from television program

In a win for Mandell Menkes attorneys fighting a subpoena to the media, a Cook County Illinois criminal court judge in June 2022 denied a motion to divest the reporter’s privilege and granted the motion to quash the subpoena that Mandell Menkes attorneys filed in a post-conviction matter. Through the subpoena, the State of Illinois sought outtakes from a Discovery Communications and Painless Television program for use in opposing a proceeding brought by a man challenging his conviction. In denying the State’s motion, the judge noted that the state failed to meet the elements of the Illinois shield law on all grounds: (i) the State could not identify the specific information it sought from the outtakes; (ii) it failed to demonstrate that the materials were essential to a public interest, which the State had merely identified as “truth-seeking”; (iii) and the State had not demonstrated that it exhausted all alternative sources of information, as it could have deposed the involved witnesses to learn what they may have said in outtakes for the program. The judge also denied the motion to divest on the alternative ground that because the program was produced in California, the California shield law applied and provides “absolute” protection for the media.