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Popkin Faces Jail Term Unless Appeal Succeeds


Samuel L. Popkin, assistant professor of Government, will go to jail on Tuesday unless the U. S. Court of Appeals grants his lawyers' request for another deferment of his prison sentence. The appeal will be based on the grounds that the Supreme Court is likely to hear Popkin's case during its coming term.

The lawyers will request two alternate extensions: one lasting 30 days with an option for renewal, or one scheduled to expire in November when the Supreme Court decides whether to accept Popkin's application for a hearing.

Popkin has argued since September that he is not legally required to disclose his academic sources to a Boston grand jury investigating the leak of the Pentagon Papers to the press. A major point in his argument was a claim of academic privilege similar to Earl Caldwell's claim of journalistic privilege which a New York court ruling supported early this year.

Caldwell Principle

Caldwell, a reporter for the New York Times, refused to disclose information about the Black Panthers on the ground that it would hurt his chances to gather further news from that source.

The Supreme Court reversed the lower court ruling on June 29 in a majority decision which said "the public has a right to every man's evidence."

The Appeals Court had granted a delay on Popkin's sentence earlier this year pending the Supreme Court's ruling on Caldwell. At the same time, it guaranteed a hearing between the Caldwell ruling and the end of Popkin's extension.

Popkin's lawyer William P. Homans '41, said that the Caldwell decision was not favorable to Popkin's case, but that the outlook for Tuesday's hearing is still unclear. He said that one problem is the limited amount of time given the defense to prepare its brief. The Court of Appeals notified him of the hearing date Wednesday night.

"You can see what's on their minds," Homans said yesterday. "They just want to get this thing out of the way as quickly as possible and I don't blame them."

Homans said that the defense will apply to the Supreme Court for a hearing on Popkin's case before August 4. Supreme Court rules require that Popkin file for a hearing within 90 days of the close of Caldwell's case on May 4.

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