Media Contact: Curtis T. Hill, Jr. (574) 296-1888

Elkhart Circuit Court Judge Terry C. Shewmaker issued his ruling today, the 5th day of May, 2015, ordering Elkhart Truth reporter Emily Pfund to appear in the Elkhart Circuit Court at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 and be available to testify at the hearing on Defendant’s Motion to Suppress in the State of Indiana v. Freddie D. Rhodes case.

This matter was heard on the 24th day of April, 2015 when Non-Party, the Truth Publishing, Inc. d/b/a the Elkhart Truth and reporter Emily Pfund filed a Motion with the court to Quash a subpoena issued to her by the State of Indiana. During the April 24, 2015 hearing, Judge Shewmaker heard from counsel for the Elkhart Truth as well as Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Vicki Elaine Becker, as well as the briefs provided by both counsel. In issuing his 13 page ruling in which the court relied upon detail analysis, the court concluded that “although the Indiana Shield Law recognizes a statutory privilege against reporters being compelled to disclose their sources, the Law does not grant an absolute privilege which would prevent the State from obtaining information that could otherwise be admitted as evidence.

The only privilege Ms. Pfund holds is limited to the Indiana Shield Law which applies only to prevent compelled disclosure of her sources. Here, Ms. Pfund published her sources in the article printed on March 22, 2015 and made it clear her sources were Defendant Freddie Rhodes and his mother Wanda Malone-Shorter. No such disclosure of sources is being requested by the State through its Subpoena. The privilege Ms. Pfund enjoys does not extend to critical information she, as a potential material witness in the pending criminal case, may possess. The concern about disclosure of a source is not present in this case as the source(s) are already known and there is no further additional expectations of confidentiality.”

The court further noted, “…it is hardly a novel idea that assertions of privilege must give way to a specific need for evidence in a criminal case. Here, the court presumes that Ms. Pfund interviewed Defendant without the knowledge or consent of his attorney. The State’s representatives are prohibited from talking to Defendant under the Fifth Amendment and Rule 4.2 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct. Ms. Pfund published a story regarding statements Defendant made to her during the interview that are allegedly contradictory to other evidence. The information sought cannot be acquired by the State form any other source.”

The court further found that, “The State has sufficiently established that there is a compelling need for Ms. Pfund’s testimony for rebuttal purposes should Defendant Rhodes testify and place his credibility at issue. Only then will the information known by Ms. Pfund be highly relevant and material.” In citing the Cline case the court noted “Freedom of the press, hard won over the centuries by men of courage is basic to a free society. But, basic too are courts of justice, armed with the power to discover truth. The concept that it is the duty of law has roots fully as deep in our history as does the guarantee of a free press.”

Additionally, the court rejected the Elkhart Truth’s contentions with respect to the application of Ind. R. Trial P. 34(C) describing it as “misplaced”. According to the court, “The record shows that the State issued its Subpoena Duces Tecum pursuant to Ind. R. Trial P. 45, not Ind. R. Trial P. 34.”

In requiring Pfund to appear and be available to testify the court noted that her notes and records are to be produced only if she uses them during her testimony to refresh her recollection.

In addition to the court order requiring Pfund’s appearance, the court issued its order on the same day denying Defendant’s Verified Motion to Sever and Grant Separate Trial Based on Misjoinder of Charges, pointing out that contrary to the contentions of counsel for Rhodes, State of Indiana through its information has charged Defendant Rhodes with only one offense: Felony Murder under Indiana Code § 35-42-1-1 (2), thereby being no multiple offenses to sever. Further, the court noted that “Defendant, by counsel, presented no argument and offered no reason, authority or case law in support of his request for separate trials.”


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”