Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Northwestern College won't turn over student journalists' notes in murder investigation

Source of photo is here.

Student journalists at Northwestern University are fighting to keep private e-mails, student grades, unpublished notes and other materials related to their investigation of a man convicted in the killing of a security guard in 1978 in Chicago.
The students researched the murder as part of the university's Medill Innocence Project. The Daily Northwestern reported today:
The Medill Innocence Project is caught in an ongoing legal battle with the Cook County state’s attorney office, and will not turn over the documents subpoenaed in the case of a man convicted of murder 31 years ago, said Medill Dean John Lavine.
The attorney’s office has requested access to all e-mails, student grades, course syllabi, expense reports and unpublished notes and tapes from students formerly involved in the Investigative Journalism class, who investigated the case of Anthony McKinney. McKinney was convicted of killing a security guard in 1978 in Harvey, a Chicago suburb, and has been in prison for the last 31 years.
Beginning in 2003, students in Prof. David Protess’s Investigative Journalism class — as part of Medill’s Innocence Project — researched McKinney’s case at the request of McKinney’s brother.
According to the Medill Innocence Project Web site, nine student reporting teams were involved with the project over three years, and in 2006 their research was given to the Center of Wrongful Convictions at the NU law school’s Bluhm Legal Clinic.
In Oct. 2008, the Bluhm Legal Clinic filed a post-conviction petition for McKinney in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

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