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The State

October 28, 1987

A Bay Area newspaper reporter facing jail Nov. 4 for refusing to testify about her interview with triple murder defendant John Sapp got a reprieve from the state Supreme Court. With unusual support from Sapp's lawyer, the court blocked the jailing of Contra Costa Times reporter Erin Hallissy, 29, until it decides whether to grant a hearing on her claim that the California reporters' shield law protects her from having to testify. She was found in contempt for refusing to testify about facts in a story she wrote about Sapp. In a letter received by the high court, Sapp's lawyer, county Deputy Public Defender Jack Rauch, said he was aware that the reporter was willing to testify if ordered to do so by the state Supreme Court. "As a public defender, I am very uncomfortable with the prospect of Ms. Hallissy going to jail," the defense lawyer wrote. Sapp, 34, of Concord, is charged with killing two Concord men and a Richmond woman.

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