On Thursday, there were other legal wranglings in court over the Covenant School shooter’s writings. Five organizations have urged the court to make all the documents that Metro Police collected from the shooter public. Sen. Todd Gardenhire, the Tennessee Firearms Association, the National Police Association, the Tennessee Star, and The Tennessean newspaper have all spoken to disclose all the papers.
On the day of the incident, police searched the shooter’s home and vehicle and seized hundreds of items, including guns, a suicide note, journals, and more. Thursday’s court appearance was initially intended to be a show cause hearing. Instead, attention was placed on whether the judge should rescind her earlier ruling, giving the Covenant parents the authority to decide whether the shooter’s writings should be made public.
This follows an appeal of her ruling by a few lawyers, which is still pending. Unexpectedly, the shooter’s parents’ attorney informed the court that they wanted to give the school’s students full ownership and rights to the shooter’s writings. According to lawyer David Raybin, who is defending the shooter’s parents, the essays belong to the parents, who should have the right to decide what happens to them.
The victims’ families might theoretically decide what happens to the writings if the judge concurs. The reports will likely never be made public if that request is approved. According to any standard, what we saw today was terrific, according to Covenant parent spokesperson Brent Leatherwood.
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You should be aware that in pursuing their goal to keep all of these materials out of the public domain and anything that might inspire future attacks on other towns, the parents and families have instructed their attorneys to exhaust all legal options. According to critics, that would imply that the public would never learn the reason for the crime.
The papers, which constitute evidence gathered in a police case, could not be made public, according to Deborah Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. “I would read that as another legal manoeuvre to try to prevent that,” she said. “Evidence gathered in a lawsuit, whether surveillance footage from a convenience shop or documents that may support a claim, will eventually be made public.
Let me stop there and explain that the Nashville community, not just us Covenant parents and families, are experiencing intense sadness. The five groups’ attorneys claim that because the papers are currently in police custody, they are already public records. According to John Harris of the Tennessee Firearms Association, “If the government is in possession, then it’s publicly inspectable.”
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The parents at the school, the Covenant school, and the church all oppose the essays’ public dissemination out of concern that it would spark another school shooting. Nobody in the legal profession or elsewhere should have any doubts about our parents’ and our families’ commitment to this cause, Leatherwood added. As soon as a decision about the stay is made, NewsChannel 5 will update this.
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