HOUCHINS v. KQED INC.

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
76-1310
Petitioner 
Houchins
Respondent 
KQED Inc.
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

KQED Inc., owner of a number of licensed television and radio broadcasting stations, requested permission to inspect and take pictures of the Alameda County Jail at Santa Rita. KQED sought to investigate a recent suicide that had occurred at the facility. Houchins, the Sheriff of Alameda County, denied access to the media.

Question 

Did the First Amendment guarantee news media a right of access to jails over and above that of other persons?

Conclusion 
Decision: 4 votes for Houchins, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

No. In an opinion written by Chief Justice Burger, the Court held that the First Amendment granted no special right of access to the press to government- controlled sources of information. The Court reasoned that the importance of acceptable prison conditions and the media's role of providing information afforded "no basis for reading into the Constitution a right of the public or the media to enter these institutions. . .and take moving and still pictures of inmates for broadcast purposes."

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HOUCHINS v. KQED INC.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 12 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_1310>.
HOUCHINS v. KQED INC., The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_1310 (last visited September 12, 2014).
"HOUCHINS v. KQED INC.," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 12, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_1310.