Courts

WTAR v. City Council of the City of Virginia Beach

An injunction is not justified where there is not a reasonable probability that violations of FOIA will occur again.

Charlottesville Newspapers Inc. v. Berry

Charlottesville Newspapers Inc. v. Berry, 206 S.E.2d 267, 215 Va. 116 (6/19/1974)

Virginia Supreme Court

CHARLOTTESVILLE NEWSPAPERS, INC., DOUGLAS PARDUE, AND BENJAMIN F. CRITZER

v.

DAVID F. BERRY, JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ALBEMARLE COUNTY

Upon a Petition for a Writ of Prohibition and Mandamus.

John C. Lowe (Edward L. Hogshire; Lowe & Gordon, on brief), for petitioners.

James E. Kulp, Assistant Attorney General (Andrew P. Miller, Attorney General, on brief), for respondent.

Brown v. Commonwealth

Brown was convicted of a murder in an auto parts junkyard. A newspaper article published on the day after the killing quoted a "spokesman" for the sheriff's department who gave a different version of the facts than the prosecution later presented in court. Brown wanted to make the reporter give up the identity of that confidential source, but the trial court refused to do so. Here, the Court affirmed that decision, ruling that a journalist’s promise of confidentiality should yield only when a defendant’s need is essential to a fair trial. In this case, the Court ruled, the confidential statements would not have affected Brown’s conviction or the severity of his sentence.

Archer v. Mayes

SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA

Archer v. Mayes

Record No. 8110

194 S.E.2d 707, 213 Va. 633

March 5, 1973

GRACE ARCHER AND JAMES JOHNSON v. D. CARLETON MAYES, JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF AMELIA COUNTY; S. L. FARRAR, JR., CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF AMELIA COUNTY; JOHN L. SMITH, JAMES E. FORD AND GRAHAM W. THOMPSON, JURY COMMISSIONERS OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF AMELIA COUNTY

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Appeal from an order of the Circuit Court of Amelia County. Hon. William M. Sweeney, judge designate presiding.

Sanders v. Harris (Virginia Supreme Court on libel)

Sanders, a professor at Virginia Western Community College, sued after a newspaper wrongly reported that she improperly withheld documents from her department head. Her employment contract with the university was not renewed after the article appeared, and she was unable to obtain another position with a university. The Court affirmed a circuit court’s ruling in favor of the defendants, the publisher and the source for the article, because Sanders had not proved actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth. That standard applies when published statements relate to matters of public or general concern, because they are protected by the First Amendment and subject to qualified privilege.

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