UCSB alumnus and journalist/blogger Josh Wolf was released from jail yesterday after spending 223 days behind bars for refusing to hand over video footage of a riot to authorities.

Wolf, 23, was serving time in a Dublin, California federal penitentiary after defying a grand jury subpoena and an order from a federal judge to turn in a video recording of an incident wherein a San Francisco Police officer was badly injured during a protest at the G-8 summit in July of 2005. Wolf’s detainment was the longest in U.S. history served by a journalist for civil contempt of court.

In a press release, Wolf claimed he would not turn over the evidence because he did not want to testify about incidents that occurred during the protest or give away source information. He said he strongly believed a trusting relationship between a journalist and his sources was essential to a free press. Prior to the protest, Wolf asserted journalists should never be required to testify before a grand jury for withholding pertinent crime evidence.

Wolf said he had planned to edit and upload the imagery on his website, which featured video news coverage of protests and other political disputes within the Bay Area.

Wolf was released after a judicial mediation with the federal court, where he agreed to a compromise requiring him to post the full, unedited version of the protest footage on his website, in addition to handing over the original copy of his video to the court. In exchange, the prosecution gave Wolf formal assurance that he would not ever be required to testify in court about the incident at any time in the future.

Previously, Wolf worked for the Santa Barbara Independent, and during his time at UCSB, wrote one article for the Daily Nexus.

Wolf said in the press release that he is looking forward “to getting back to committing journalism” now that he has been released from prison.

– Staff Report