State ex rel. Green Bay Newspaper Co. v. Circuit Court
In State ex rel. Green Bay Newspaper Co. v. Circuit Court, 113 Wis. 2d 411, 335 N.W.2d 367, 371 (Wis. 1983) a criminal defendant sought to force disclosure of two reporters' sources to obtain potentially exculpatory evidence. The reporters refused to identify their sources. Id.
In order to protect "the societal interest . . . [in] the free flow of information" that is represented by the reporter-informant privilege, the court found that if the defendant could establish that the reporters' sources could lead to exculpatory evidence, the trial judge would then conduct an ex parte, in camera hearing to verify whether the evidence is necessary to the defense. Id. at 373-74.
If the trial judge found the evidence necessary to the defense, only then would the source be disclosed to the defendant. Id. at 374.