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Ohio court to hear appeal over video of judge being shot

Posted at 9:03 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 21:03:55-05

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will hear an appeal of a ruling that surveillance video showing a judge being shot and wounded at a courthouse is a security record and shouldn’t be released to The Associated Press.

The state’s high court decided that it would hear the AP’s appeal of the September 2019 ruling by a three-judge panel with the 7th District Court of Appeals in Youngstown that determined the video shouldn’t be released.

The video shows Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. being shot outside a Steubenville courthouse in August 2017 by 51-year-old Nathaniel Richmond, and then Richmond being killed by a probation officer. Richmond had a pending wrongful death lawsuit in front of Bruzzese at the time. The judge recovered and returned to the bench.

The AP requested a copy of the surveillance video recorded by a camera positioned in front of the courthouse, but Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin denied that request.

She argued that releasing the video could endanger lives of judges and their staffs. The AP’s attorney argued that Ohio case law is clear that the video is a public record, as the Ohio Court of Claims previously ruled, and should be released.

The Court of Claims ruled in February 2019 that the video doesn’t contain information used to protect a public office from “attack, interference or sabotage.”

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday at Hanlin’s office.