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The Supreme Court turned down an appeal on Monday from The Boston Globe and a former reporter in a $2 million defamation judgment stemming from the paper’s refusal to reveal a confidential source. Justices had been told that the case was important for protecting news sources, a subject of special interest with the summer jailing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller in a CIA leak case and court fights over civil contempt findings against other journalists. The Boston case involved a civil matter, not a criminal one. The Globe had been sued by a doctor who argued she was wrongly blamed in front page news article for the death of a patient. The patient, Betsy Lehman, was the newspaper’s health columnist, who died in 1994 from an overdose of experimental cancer drugs. The newspaper, relying on confidential sources, reported in 1995 that Dr. Lois Ayash was the leader of a team of doctors caring for Lehman at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and that she countersigned a medical order that resulted in Lehman’s death. The Globe later published a correction saying Ayash had not countersigned the order, while standing by the claim that she was the head of the treatment team. Ayash sued and sought the source of the information, which she argued was false. The newspaper refused to identify its source, which led to a default judgment against the Globe and former reporter Richard Knox. A jury said the paper should pay $1.68 million in damages and the reporter $420,000. Massachusetts’ high court upheld the judgment earlier this year. The Associated Press joined more than a dozen media companies and journalist associations in urging the Supreme Court to review the case. Their attorney, Laura Handman, told justices that the ruling against the Globe “is doubly unconstitutional because it allows a public-figure plaintiff to recover damages for libel without proving any publication was false or that the press acted with actual malice.” The case is Globe Newspaper Co. v. Ayash, 04-1634. In the first day of its new term Monday, the Supreme Court also: � Declined to block a lawsuit against gun manufacturers accused of negligence for firearms violence in the nation’s capital. ( Beretta v. District of Columbia, 05-118) � Refused to consider whether students at Boca Raton Community High School in Florida had a free-speech right to paint religious messages on a wall mural. ( Bannon v. School District of Palm Beach County, 04-1207) � Rejected an appeal from Nevada tax protester Irwin Schiff who was barred from selling a book that claims paying federal income tax is voluntary. ( Schiff v. United States, 04-1383) � Turned down a challenge to a NCAA limit on basketball travel, known as the “two in four rule.” ( Worldwide Basketball and Sport Tours v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 04-1404) � Refused to consider a challenge to mandatory DNA profiling of Georgia felons. ( Boulineau v. Donald, 04-1616) � Said it would not consider a copyright dispute between Miramax Film Corp. and a screenwriter who claimed the company stole his idea for a poker club movie in the 1998 film “Rounders.” ( Miramax v. Jeff Grosso, 04-1682) � Decided not to consider a challenge to an ordinance in Catlettsburg, Ky., prohibiting people from putting handbills on parked cars. ( Jobe v. City of Catlettsburg, 05-188) � Denied a request to consider whether an illegal seizure took place when a Maine driver charged with drunken driving rolled down the window of his parked car after a police officer tapped on it. ( Maine v. Patterson, 04-1491) Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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