Kentucky Supreme Court Allows Media Access to Contempt of Court Hearings of Jurors

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Susan Shultz Gibson should have allowed the public and media access to a contempt-of-court hearing for a juror last year.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that while there is “continuing confusion” among courts in Kentucky, criminal contempt hearings for jurors should be open to the public.

Judge Gibson said Thursday that she “along with all judges take very seriously both the need to have open and accountable courts and the need to protect the privacy interests of jurors, particularly when potentially disclosing what happens in jury deliberations, which are supposed to be confidential. I think the Supreme Court’s opinion gives much-needed guidance on a matter which even the justices acknowledge has been a source of continuing confusion for courts.”

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