Prosecutors subpoena journalism students' grades

Chicago prosecutors have subpoenaed the grades and other material regarding the classroom performance of Northwestern University journalism students, according to The New York Times. Seems the prosecutors are tired of being second-guessed by the J-students, who are participants in The Innocence Project.

The Innocence Project is an effort by Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism to provide students with real-life experience in scrutinizing the actions of police and prosecutors in old cases. Their work has led to the release of at least 11 inmates who were shown to have been wrongly convicted.

It's that success rate that has the local DAs filing motions with little precedent, according to the Times: the grades, grading criteria, class syllabus, expense reports and e-mail messages of the journalism students themselves.

“But as the Medill Innocence Project is raising concerns about another case, that of a man convicted in a murder 31 years ago, a hearing has been scheduled next month in Cook County Circuit Court on an unusual request: Local prosecutors have subpoenaed the grades, grading criteria, class syllabus, expense reports and e-mail messages of the journalism students themselves.”

Whatever one thinks about the death penalty, everybody agrees that innocent people should not go to jail for crimes they didn't commit. That Chicago prosecutors are going after the messengers of bad news has the aroma of abuse of office. Go here for the full report from the Times.

 

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