A battle is being fought in the Vanderbilt football players rape trial. However , the battle is not between the accused verses the government. It is The Tennessean verses Metro Police. The Tennessean issued a request pursuant to the Tennessee Open Records Act . Metro Police issued a denial of the records request based upon the fact that the records are part of a open/pending criminal investigation. The main issue is the right to have a fair trial verses the presses rights to open record
Already the court has issued a gag order prohibiting speech about the case. Now the newspaper wants access to records including test messages and surveillance videos for the case. Will providing those texts and videos deny these men the right to a fair trial . What is the public’s need to know about a criminal investigation. Will surveillance videos of the victim then be blasted out over the newspapers website ?
David Raybin has long argued that criminal discovery should not be placed in the case file for various reasons. I agree. Disclosure of sensitive evidence can harm ones right to a fair trial or make it more difficult to get one. The newspaper wants to find out if the quarterback was one of the players that helped move the victim. Let the government prosecute the case. Let the attorneys defend the case. Let justice be done for both sides. What good does it do to reveal video tapes or text messages ? Let the jury see then the paper can report from the courtroom.