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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Jefferson County Attorney wants to make big changes to Juvenile Court. Mike O'Connell wants court proceedings involving minors to be at least partially open.
"It's my opinion that juvenile court needs to be open to an acceptable degree of public scrutiny," says O'Connell.
O'Connell is a former juvenile court judge himself. He says he would like to see a change in state law.
Currently, in Kentucky's juvenile proceedings, information about anyone under the age of 18 is confidential.
But it was a case this week involving this teenager that O'Connell says helped push him to make this latest announcement.
"I do think that was a factor in moving at the time, I did, and I think it was important and probably should have been done a long time ago," says O'Connell.
Thomas Clay agrees.
He's the attorney for 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich, who violated a gag order out of frustration with a plea bargain.
She posted online the names of the two boys who sexually assaulted her.
Contempt charges against Dietrich were dropped, but Thomas Clay says opening court proceedings would help people see what is really happening behind closed doors.
There's now an outpouring of support for Dietrich on Twitter and Facebook.
"She has no regrets about it at all. In fact, she's proud of what she did. That she stood up, despite what the consequences could have been, and expressed her dissatisfaction with the manner in which these proceedings were handled," says Thomas Clay, Dietrich's attorney.
Kentucky is one of only 11 states where juvenile court cases are confidential.
While there are bound to be opponents of making the proceedings at least partially open, O'Connell says the changes could help more than harm.
"It would ensure the accountability of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys and would alert the community to the presence of violent juvenile crime," says Mike O'Connell.
"And opening the proceedings will allow the public to scrutinize what their elected and appointed officials and be sure they're doing it right," says Thomas Clay.
Clay says they are expecting to be in court Monday, and are hoping to get Dietrich's case opened to the public.
As for O'Connell, he says he wants to introduce legislation on this issue during the next session of the General Assembly.