State seeks students’ records from Northwestern journalism class

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Cook County prosecutors have issued subpoenas to Northwestern University professor David Protess, requesting that he hand over student grades and private emails from an investigative reporting class that concluded a man on death row may be innocent.

Northwestern’s lawyers have already filed a motion to quash the subpoenas. A judge may act on this request today in regards to the latest class project of the Medill Innocence Project.

Protess and his students spent three years investigating the case of Anthony McKinney, who has served more than 30 years of a life sentence for killing a security guard.

The American Society of Newspaper Editors sent a letter to state’s attorney Anita Alvarez that includes the following comments:

These subpoenas are a wide-ranging, unfounded sweep for information that we believe violates the Illinois reporter’s privilege statute and threatens key tenets of journalism and justice in this case.

To learn more about this case, check out the following stories and commentaries.

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