Accused killer's attorney upset with media, court system over leaked psychiatric records - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Accused killer's attorney upset with media, court system over leaked psychiatric records

Attorneys for a woman accused of killing her two children are furious that we know so much about her psychiatric record.  That has public defenders blasting the news media.

They are upset with a Courier-Journal article that discloses Gail Coontz's mental health record.   But, the prosecutors office that filed the case says it's taking no position on the records being sealed.

Public Defender Mike Lemke represents Gail Coontz, who is charged with killing her two children in March.

Lemke is trying to figure out how private information about Coontz became public and was published by the Courier-Journal and reported by media outlets.

When discovery, which is evidence, was filed last week, Lemke obtained a court order sealing the four pages and two CDs.

But Lemke says just who is at fault is not known yet.  A hearing next week will look into whether Courier-Journal reporter Jason Riley violated the Judge's order or prosecutors or court personnel erred in putting it in a public file.

The court records revealed Coontz called a crisis hotline in January of last year and threatened to kill herself and her son and daughter.  That call prompted an investigation by the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The paper also reported Coontz's therapist said she was one of the best mothers the therapist had seen.  And, the records showed the cabinet felt Coontz was not a risk to her children.

Lemke believes some of that evidence, especially comments from mental health professionals, was protected by confidentiality laws.  And he says those violations hurt Coontz's right to a fair trial.

Coontz did not appear at Tuesday's hearing.  Her attorney says she was distraught after seeing her mental health record in the newspaper.  She's at Metro Corrections on a $500,000 bond.

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