The Kentucky Court of Appeals ordered on Thursday Marshall County Circuit Court Judge Jamie Jameson to release court documents, including an arraignment video involving the Marshall County High School shooting case.
Jameson is presiding over the case involving accused shooter 15-year-old Gabe Parker. Parker is being tried as an adult on murder and assault charges following a shooting spree at a local high school that killed two students and injured more than a dozen others. He was indicted and arraigned last month. Jameson had closed the arraignment and had since ordered that documents remain closed due to a defense attorney’s questioning of Parker’s due process in juvenile proceedings.
Jameson’s decisions to keep the case confidential drew an outcry from Paducah-based Paxton Media Group who argued that the arraignment and other documents should have been public. The writ alleged that Jameson had engaged in misconduct by interfering in the case. Attorney Jon Fleischaker represented PMG in a writ to the Appeals Court requesting they order Jameson to make the materials public.
“We think it’s proper, we think it’s right, and we were very pleased,” Fleischaker said.
According to the order, “now that the arraignment has taken place, there is no statutory justification for preventing public access to the record in this case.” The order said Jameson’s reliance on a juvenile confidentiality protection statute to close the arraignment and refuse public access to records was an “error.”
According to the order, both Jameson and the defense argued that such protections should stay in place until a challenge to the transfer from the juvenile division of the District Court to the Circuit Court is resolved. The defense attorney had called into question Parker’s due process in juvenile proceedings. An ‘Agreed Order’ from both the defense and prosecution determined to keep court documents confidential until a motion on this matter had been filed and resolved.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark Blankenship said he agrees with Judge Glenn Acree’s Appeals order that Parker’s arraignment should have been “out in the open.”
“I had never in all my years of being a defense lawyer and a prosecutor had ever witnessed a closed arraignment,” Blankenship said. “So it never seemed right to me that that part of the case was being closed.”
Blankenship had filed a motion to have Judge Jamie Jameson removed from the case, but Chief Justice John Minton denied the motion on Wednesday. Blankenship said he hopes the public will accept Minton’s decision. He said his office does not plan on pursuing other efforts to have Jameson removed unless future biased actions occur.
Most materials from the case, including the video, were released Thursday. WKMS News has obtained a copy of the materials made public.
The Circuit Court clerk said she did not wish to comment.