NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – “Uncharted territory.”
That’s how a judge described the debate over the release over the Covenant School shooter’s writings; the writings were the center of discussion in a Davidson County courtroom Monday.
The case centered on the public records act, sparked by a handful of lawsuits against the city. The Tennessee Firearms Association, the National Police Association, The Tennessean and The Tennessee Star have all filed petitions calling for the release of the documents after requests were denied.
In a status hearing Monday, much of the discussion focused around the motions to intervene that have been filed by parents of The Covenant School, the school itself and the church.
A Covenant School parent in the courtroom Monday represented their voice as one as they’ve asked for the documents not to be released at all. The petitioners, on the other hand, said the parents don’t have a right to intervene.
“I submit, Your Honor, that the parents, even the parents of the children who were killed, I say that with respect because I don’t mean to diminish their grief, but they’re not victims of a crime. Their child, who was killed, was certainly the victim of a crime, but the parents were not. The parents who had other children in the school are not victims of a crime and the children who were unharmed and the police got safely out of there, they’re not victims of a crime,” Attorney Robb Harvey who is representing The Tennessean told the court.
Following the hearing, Metro’s Director of Law, Wally Dietz, told reporters they are absolutely victims, while calling this an “exceptional” case.
“This is a very interesting confluence of First Amendment rights, public records access, rights of victims…it’s just a really interesting case and some of these issues have not been litigated fully,” Dietz explained.
Chancellor I’Ashea Myles has a copy of the writings found in the shooter’s car and a redacted version that city officials propose to release.
Myles plans to issue a written decision on the writings Wednesday.