A reporter who was found in contempt of court spent Saturday behind bars and her newspaper tried to free the journalist from a jail term imposed because she would not answer questions in a capital murder case.
"We're looking into what avenues we have in the legal system next," Corpus Christi Caller-Times executive editor Larry Rose said Saturday. "At this point, I can't tell you what they are."The Texas Criminal Court of Appeals late Friday refused a request by the newspaper's lawyer, Jorge Rangel, that Caller-Times reporter Libby Averyt be freed on bond while the higher court considered an appeal of the contempt of court ruling that landed her in jail.
State District Judge Eric Brown, who had performed Averyt's marriage ceremony only a month earlier, Friday had the reporter handcuffed and jailed for refusing to answer questions about her interview with a capital murder suspect.
Carl Lewis, a defense lawyer for capital murder suspect Jermarr Arnold, wanted Averyt, 26, to answer questions about information she received in her interview with Arnold that was not included in articles published in the Caller-Times Nov. 4 and Nov. 5.
In the articles, Arnold is quoted as saying he shot Corpus Christi jewelry store clerk Christina Marie Sanchez during a 1983 robbery of the store.
Averyt insisted the First Amendment and provisions of the Texas Constitution allow a reporter to keep unpublished information confidential.
Admitting she was frightened, Averyt said before being taken to jail that she still was not considering changing her mind and releasing the information.
"I still have this strong belief that if things like this are allowed to happen, that fewer people are going to be willing to talk to me," Averyt told reporters.