An Arizona Republic journalist has been ordered by a judge to give up all of his records from interviews conducted with a Catholic priest who was assaulted during a 2014 robbery and murder at a Phoenix church rectory.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Reinstein ruled this week that the fair-trial rights of homicide suspect Gary Michael Moran trump First Amendment protections claimed by John D'Anna, an editor at the newspaper who also writes occasional stories and columns.

Reinstein ordered D'Anna to surrender all notes, recordings and other communications with Father Joseph Terra, who became a victim and prospective witness when he was attacked along with Father Kenneth Walker during a June 11, 2014, robbery at the Mater Misericordiae Mission.

D'Anna and Phoenix Newspapers Inc., which publishes The Republic and, sought to quash the subpoena based on free-press rights under the First Amendment as well as Arizona's media shield law. Newspaper attorney David Bodney argued in his motion that Moran's legal team did not meet legal requirements to specify what relevant information it is seeking, and already has access to Terra's police interviews. Bodney also said D'Anna's notes include off-the-record entries, and asserted that disclosure would violate Terra's rights as a crime victim.

Mr. Bodney said court-compelled disclosure of reporter notes has a chilling effect on news sources, including crime victims and witnesses, making them hesitant to share their stories publicly. He also said off-the-record comments to journalists are inherently confidential.

Mr. Bodney said a motion for reconsideration will be filed with new evidence, asking Reinstein to reverse his decision by finding that Moran's attorneys failed to specify what relevant statements they are seeking and did not exhaust all ways of getting the information they want.

"There is no demonstrated or actual relevance here. It is a pure fishing expedition," Mr. Bodney said. "... Sources need to be able to rely on reporters."