Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Houchins v. KQED case brief

Houchins v. KQED case brief summary
438 U.S. 1 (1978)

Petitioner sheriff filed an interlocutory appeal of a preliminary injunction from denying respondent news personnel access to the jail facilities. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sustained the injunction and held that the public and the media had a First and Fourteenth Amendment right of access to prisons and jails. The sheriff sought review.

The news personnel contended that public access to penal institutions was necessary to prevent officials from concealing prison conditions from the voters and impairing the public's right to discuss and criticize the prison system and its administration.


  • The court reversed and remanded. 
  • The public importance of conditions in penal facilities and the media's role of providing information afforded no basis for reading into the Constitution a right of the public or the media to enter the institutions, with camera equipment, and take moving and still pictures of inmates for broadcast purposes. 
  • The guarantee of freedom to publish did not create a special access privilege. 
  • Whether the government should open penal institutions in the manner sought by the news personnel was a question of policy, which a legislative body could appropriately resolve one way or the other. 
  • The Court rejected the conclusory assertion that the public and the media had a First Amendment right to government information regarding the conditions of jails and their inmates. 
  • The news personnel had no special right of access to the jail different from or greater than that accorded the public generally.
The Court reversed the injunction and remanded.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads

https://www.pexels.com/photo/coworkers-talking-outside-4427818/ Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...