Courier-Journal refuses to return sealed court records - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Courier-Journal refuses to return sealed court records

The Louisville Courier-Journal has refused to return sealed court records a judge says it should not possess.

Last week, a Courier-Journal article revealed information about Gail Coontz's past mental health problems.  She is accused of murdering her children last March.

Her attorneys say the information threatens her right to a fair trial.

The defense says the reporter could face contempt charges because he obtained and published evidence even though a judge told him it was off-limits.

Coontz's public defender Mike Lemke says, "Up until today, we didn't have the proof that we needed that he saw the order and ignored it.  Now that we've got that, it's something to consider."

But Jon Fleischaker, an attorney for the Courier-Journal, responds, "It is the high tradition of the press to go find out information that public officials are trying to keep secret, and that includes judges.  There is nothing wrong with what he did."

The Courier-Journal attorney agreed to suggest the newspaper not use the records again until another hearing can be held next month.

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