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Patch Editor Faces $300-A-Day Fines and Jail Time for Protecting Source

Patch Media immediately appeals judge's ruling.

Patch editor Joseph Hosey
Patch editor Joseph Hosey

A Will County judge found Patch Editor Joseph Hosey in criminal contempt Friday, fined him $1,000 plus $300 a day and told him he could go to jail in three months if he does not reveal the identity of a confidential source.

Patch Media immediately filed an appeal to Judge Gerald Kinney's order.

Kinney ruled that Hosey was in "minor direct criminal contempt" for not giving up the investigative reports that described in detail various aspects of a grisly Joliet double murder in January 2013, as well as the source of those documents.

According to the judge's ruling, Hosey was fined $1,000 plus court costs. He must pay $300 a day in fines from Aug. 29 up to 180 days. After 180 days, he could be jailed.

Hosey's attorney Kenneth L. Schmetterer immediately appealed the judge’s ruling.

“Illinois courts have upheld the shield law to protect reporters precisely from having to divulge confidential sources because of the chilling effect it can have on the important work reporters can do,” Schmetterer said after Friday's hearing. “That’s a principle that’s established and recognized by appellate courts and the Illinois Supreme Court by the statute, and that’s why we’re going to vigorously press forward with our appeal.” 

Schmetterer said the appeal could take months. 

While in court, Schmetterer cited several previous cases where the term “friendly civil contempt” was used to describe a ruling, and all resulted in fines of varying amounts from $50 to $500. He urged the judge to consider that form of contempt ruling.

Attorney Chuck Bretz, one of the attorneys representing a defendant in the Joliet murder case and the lawyer who asked the judge to force Hosey to reveal his source, said he was “not sure if there is such a thing” as friendly civil contempt. Bretz asked that the judge's ruling include jail time for Patch's editor.

Bretz cited a gag order preventing him from making further comment after the hearing.

Kinney ruled in August that Hosey had to turn over the confidential source of the police reports used in his reporting on the murders, known as the Hickory Street murders.

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Marie Czech said during the hearing that the grand jury proceedings in the Hickory Street murder cases were not compromised by Hosey’s articles, nor was evidence compromised. Czech also said the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office denies that First Assistant State’s Attorney Ken Grey made statements about a possible leak.

“I want to see if the appellate court will appropriately address this,” Kinney said.

Related Patch Coverage:

Patchitupnow September 20, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Stand up for the constitution and stand up for your rights. Don't let them bully you. Good luck on your appeal and welcome to the Police State.
Boss September 20, 2013 at 04:00 PM
when will you ppl understand we no longer have rights and the little we do have there trying to take them. you want to fight for your right??? then you better be perpare to go all out. this system is made for use to fail.
Leroy September 20, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Looks like Joe Hosey got hosed
Boss September 20, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Hey Joe are they going to put you on a payment plan or what? that a lot of money to pay up in 180 days. I can barely come up with that kind of money my self in that time. if you need a loan hit my line I got you for 38% interest.
Boss September 20, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Also just a thought JOE HOSEY. you think Chuck on some BS with you cuz you where always posting atricals about his son on patch? lol all them DUIs and gun chrages? maybe he trying to get back at you.
Spice1 September 20, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Lock him up! Those gag orders are in place for a reason. They protect the integrity of ongoing police investigations. It ensures that people get a fair trial when accused. If they allow him and people like him to ignore this law, they will ignore them all. Whether you agree with the purpose of this gag order or not, the bottom line is, a judge issued the order, Hosey and his partner in crime should have obeyed it. Whoever leaked this information, is crooked. He cant be trusted to keep any information in my opinion.
Kristine Neumann September 20, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Spice1, I don't think there was a gag order in place at that time.
BitterBluePoison September 20, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Vote this judge out.
Scott Taras September 20, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Keep up the great work Joe. Miss u man. Semper Fi!
Boss September 20, 2013 at 04:46 PM
yeah the gag order wasnt put into place untill after the release so suck a fat one Spice
Boss September 20, 2013 at 05:01 PM
fair trail my ass. let see if you would want a fair trail after they muder yor son like this spice?
anonymous September 20, 2013 at 05:13 PM
good luck getting a fair trial with these bought and paid for scumbag judges. the corrupt cops think non-cops are just there to pi** on and steal from. journalists better wake up to the destruction of the US.
Herc September 20, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Don't give up Hosey, start a fund. I'll contribute!
anonymous September 20, 2013 at 05:26 PM
sounds like Boss has been watching old DVDs of HBO's "OZ" and fantasizing about ****ing guys in prison.
Boss September 20, 2013 at 05:39 PM
not at all i dont watch HBO OZ i dont even know wtf that is and fucking guys in prison are you???? i never went to prison im not your dad son.
anonymous September 20, 2013 at 05:52 PM
then what's with your post about prison and bit****-or is the meth wearing off?
RosieMckenna September 20, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Chuck Bretz is an egocentric POS . He will do ANYTHING to help his reputation as a defense attorney even if it means rolling over the First Amendment . Kinney will be overturned .
Jeff Fender September 20, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Law?? What Law??? I'm the Judge and I will do what I please!!!.....America really???
Gregg CreativeChicago Realtor-Slapak September 20, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Let's see how long Patch.com stands w/hiw, especially as the recently fired 40% of their AOL/patch editors(??)!
bmjtm22 September 20, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Confidential source?? You gave your word not to reveal their idenity... Then keep your word. You know your rights AND you know your right.
anonymous September 20, 2013 at 11:10 PM
I've dealt with this Bretz before- he's the kind of sleazebag that makes you feel like you need to take a shower after you've been in the same room with him- slicked back hair and all. He should have been disbarred after all that BS with Judge Schneider and Ed Mattox's daughter and the baby she had with Ruben Pena. The scum runs deep in Will County. These judges are just part of the old-boy network that gets more corrupt with every passing day.
David Johnson September 21, 2013 at 09:23 AM
@Gregg, Use English. What are you attempting to say?
Kyle Martin September 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM
cRazY Judges
Amanda Matthews September 21, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Silly people, I would have thought you'd have tried to warn the American people about what Diane Feinstein and the supporters of American Empire have been trying to do. You didn't, and look what's happening... ** Then last month, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) attempted to take the proposed shield law in a worse direction. She proposed an amendment that would explicitly define “journalist” and limit it to those who were salaried employees of media entities and those with a past record of having been so employed. We explained in a post how this definition was likely to exclude citizen journalists and self-publishers as well. The Good News The version of the law that passed out of committee contained a compromise between the definition of “covered person” and Feinstein’s definition of “journalist.” The new language improves on Feinstein’s definition in four important ways. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/09/senate-revises-media-shield-law-better-its-still-imperfect *** Seriously, this is no longer the 'land of the free and the home of the brave'. It's a country panicking because it's time as ruler of the world is running short. And there's nothing more savage than a White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant wealthy white male who sees his grip on power getting weaker and weaker by the day.
anonymous September 21, 2013 at 11:42 AM
@AmandaMatthews- EVERYTHING you enjoy today in your modern world-electricity, cars, AC , the computer you write your mindless blatherings about misandry on, etc, etc, was brought to the world by White, Anglo Sax male- and when all is said in done they will do it again and again and again. The angry white male will rise again!!!
Hartz September 21, 2013 at 12:55 PM
I am sure it was stated above; but give up one right and you can watch more slip away. We have seen this in the past; don't let history repeat itself.
Hartz September 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM
To my knowledge, there wasn't a gag order when the patch obtained the information. Why is this even an issue? I have my ideas.. I guess we will have to see how it plays out.
Boss September 21, 2013 at 01:29 PM
tell em to gag on these
Danny September 21, 2013 at 03:28 PM
The only right Hosey is trying to protect is his right to make money! His original release of the report was gratuitous on his part and gave us no information that we had to have. It simply sensationalized the crime and further demonized the defendants in our minds, and that's all it was worth. It didn't provide us with any info needed to protect ourselves from possible harm by these individuals (or other like-minded individuals), and, without Hosey's revealing his source, could really be just an exaggeration of facts to enhance his story.
Daimajin September 21, 2013 at 03:59 PM
@ anonymous - Don't forget Nuclear Weapons were also "brought to the world" by the "White Anglo Sax(sic) male". Weapons that if used in mass by let's say "angry white males", can almost completely obliterate the very "white males" they were designed to defend. I guess you gotta take the good with the bad.

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