Nashville Parents Can Have Say in Case Over Shooter’s Writings, Judge Rules

Parents of nearly 100 families will be allowed to formally argue against the release of journals and writings left by the gunman who killed six people at a Nashville Christian school, a judge said Wednesday. was given

After journalists, a gun rights group and lawmakers filed a lawsuit to force the release of hundreds of pages of journals and writings left by the shooter, the parents of the three 9-year-olds killed and their children Along with almost all of the classmates who went. The school and an affiliated church had asked to join the case and argue against their publication.

Chancellor I’Ashea L. Myles, a chancery court judge in Davidson County, acknowledged that parents “stand in a unique position, stepping into the shoes of their minor children.” And because those children are currently victims of crime under police investigation, the judge found that the parents had a right to intervene on their behalf.

Judgment does not solve the problem A far more complex question Whether and how to publish the mass shooter’s writings, and authorities still grapple with balancing constitutional rights, the public’s desire for answers to the motive, and the fear of inspiring another act of catastrophic violence. It should be.

But the judge’s order gives those most directly affected by the shooting an opportunity to present their case in court as victims and survivors. It came on the last day of school for Covenant School students, who gathered for a chapel service Wednesday with parents, staff and Nashville police officers.

While several parents wished to remain anonymous amid fears of harassment, others were willing to either testify in court or submit written statements, lawyers for the families said.

In his decision, Chancellor Miles noted that there is little precedent for such an intervention in Tennessee, but he cited the legal protections afforded to juvenile records, the focus on the case and the fact that his right to In the reasons for the verdict, children were targeted. Parents.

The judge also agreed to allow Covenant School and Covenant Presbyterian Church to intervene, finding that the two institutions had “sufficient personal stakes” to warrant an opportunity to discuss the release of the texts.

In a separate six-page ruling, she wrote that she was “disturbed” by their argument that the texts may contain information that is not necessarily accessible under open records laws, because they There are private institutions. He also acknowledged warnings from police that the investigation into the shooting was still ongoing and that a premature release of the texts could jeopardize that work.

In his decision, Chancellor I’Ashea L. Myles noted that there is little precedent for such an intervention in…George Walker IV/Associated Press

City of Nashville and police officials, who had stonewalled public records requests citing the ongoing investigation, have submitted a redacted version of the texts for court review and indicated a willingness to release that version. . While the police The assailant was quickly shot dead. During the attack, they have yet to formally determine a target or search for multiple sub-records.

However, the parents have pleaded with the court to close the shooter’s paper trail, warning that it could cause further pain and trauma. The school and church expressed their concerns about the security of their buildings, saying that releasing the texts could lead to other school shootings.

At the hearing on Monday, lawyers urging the immediate release of the texts questioned whether parents, schools and churches had legal standing to intervene, or whether they could assert protections afforded crime victims. They also questioned whether a private school could assert certain privacy rights under the public records law, and warned against limiting First Amendment protections.

Only a handful of officials, including Nashville city attorneys and FBI employees, have reviewed the texts. Chancellor Miles, who has also reviewed the cache of documents, scheduled a hearing for lawyers to continue wrestling with the release of the documents.

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