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Constitutional Law – Freedom of the press – DPPA

U.S. Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Constitutional Law – Freedom of the press – DPPA

The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act does not violate by the freedom of the press by prohibiting newspapers from publishing police officers’ personal information, such as birth date, height, weight, hair color, and eye color, obtained from motor vehicle records.

“[W]e conclude that the DPPA’s prohibition on disclosing the Officers’ personal information does not violate Sun-Times’s First Amendment rights. As this is an as-applied challenge, our holding is limited to the facts and circumstances of this case. We do not opine as to whether, given a scenario involving lesser privacy concerns or information of greater public significance, the delicate balance might tip in favor of disclosure. We hold only that, where members of the press unlawfully obtain sensitive information that, in context, is of marginal public value, the First Amendment does not guarantee them the right to publish that information. The district court therefore did not err in denying Sun-Times’s motion to dismiss the Officers’ claim that Sun-Times violated their rights under the DPPA.”

Affirmed and Remanded.

14-2295 Dahlstrom v. Sun-Times Media, LLC

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Leinenweber, J., Flaum, J.

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