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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Law - "Savannah Dietrich case prompts Kentucky bill that would allow juvenile victims to talk"

Jason Riley of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports today in a long story that begins:

Upset over the handling of the Savannah Dietrich case, in which the juvenile and her two attackers were told by a judge not to speak about the case "for any reason,” a state representative has filed a bill that would allow juvenile crime victims to discuss what happened to them.

“I didn’t like it that the victims of crime can’t speak about their case,” Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, said in an interview Tuesday.

On June 26, 17-year-old Dietrich and two teens who admitted to sexually abusing her were strictly admonished by District Court Judge Dee McDonald not to discuss the case with anyone outside of juvenile court.

Bratcher’s bill, HB 115, which was introduced on Jan. 9, would allow the victim to talk not only about the incident but about what happened during the court hearings as well.

“I’m for the victims saying anything they want to,” Bratcher said. “They shouldn’t have any gag order on them, in my opinion.”

While what happenes in juvenile court is deemed confidential under state law, some juvenile justice experts said McDonald overstepped her authority in ordering Dietrich not to discuss what happened to her outside court, arguing it was a violation of her First Amendment rights.

See the ILB's earlier coverage here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 15, 2013 01:38 PM
Posted to General Law Related