GLASGOW — Barren County Circuit Court Judge Phil Patton quashed Monday an attempt by Commonwealth Attorney Karen Davis to subpoena a Daily Times reporter’s notes and tapes from an interview.
Davis had subpoenaed editor Todd Garvin and reporter Tara Hettinger in an attempt to obtain the tapes and notes from an interview Hettinger had done with David Bell, a man who claims he’s innocent of theft charges being pursued by the commonwealth.
The interview material was used for a story that appeared in the Aug. 13 edition of the Daily Times.
In his ruling signed in open court, Patton said the subpoena for the notes and tapes was a violation of the Freedom of the Press in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and furthermore the Kentucky’s Reporters’ privilege, as part of Kentucky Revised Statute 421.100.
Patton’s ruling preceded negotiations that were ongoing between Davis’ office and attorneys representing the newspaper.
“We will vigorously defend any attempt to subpoena reporter’s notes or tapes,” Daily Times’ publisher Peter L. Mio said. “We were in the process of consulting with our corporate and Kentucky Press Association attorneys to obtain the best legal advice on how to handle this issue.
“However, nothing was finalized before Monday. We hope this ruling closes the book on this matter.”