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Supreme Court Rejects Reporter Appeal

June 29, 1990

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ A broadcast journalist lost another bid Thursday to stay out of jail while he appeals contempt-of-court citations for refusing to turn over notes of a jailhouse interview.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White, without comment, denied KMOL-TV reporter Brian Karem’s emergency application to postpone his sentence. Karem began serving the six-month jail term Wednesday.

″He was disappointed, obviously, but not surprised,″ KMOL news director Ron Harig said Thursday.

Karem, 29, has been ordered three times to turn over notes of a telephone interview he conducted with a man accused of killing a San Antonio policeman. The notes contain the name of the person who arranged the interview, and lawyers say they need that information to prepare their case.

Karem said the person fears for his life if his name is revealed.

″I’m going to keep my promise,″ he said before surrendering to authorities Wednesday.

A federal judge last week ordered Karem to turn over the notes again and refused to let Karem stay out of jail while he appealed. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday also refused to issue a stay of the reporter’s sentence, and Karem made arrangements to begin serving the jail term.

″He’s obviously unhappy about being in jail, and concerned and worried about his wife and his child and wishing that this could be resolved,″ Harig said.

Harig said no hearing date has been set for Karem’s appeal.

Karem said his only hope for release pending appeal would be for the source to come forward.

The jailing stems from an interview Karem conducted last year with murder defendant Henry David Hernandez.

Hernandez is accused - with his brother Julian - of the March 1989 shooting death of policeman Gary Williams. Henry Hernandez said during the interview that he shot the officer in self-defense.

Prosecution and defense lawyers say they have to know who arranged the interview so that they can determine whether it can be used in the trial under rules of evidence.

Henry Hernandez’s attorney does not want the interview admitted in the trial. Julian Hernandez’s attorney does.

Prosecutors want to know whether any law enforcement official was involved, or whether any promises were made or extracted for arranging the conversation.

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