|Surveillance video showing an Ohio judge being shot and wounded at a courthouse before the assailant was himself shot and killed is a public record that should be released, according to arguments by an attorney for The Associated Press in a case before the state Supreme Court.
The video shows Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. being shot outside a Steubenville courthouse in eastern Ohio 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 Ohio Supreme Court planned oral arguments for Tuesday. A decision isn't expected for weeks.
The day of the shooting, the AP asked for 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, saying the video was a confidential law enforcement record and part of the courthouse’s infrastructure security system, among other arguments.
In February 2019, the Ohio Court of Claims sided with an appeal brought by the AP, saying the video doesn’t contain information used to protect a public office from “attack, interference or sabotage.”
Hanlin appealed, and in September 2019, the 7th District Court of Appeals in Youngstown agreed with the prosecutor, determining the video is exempt from being released under Ohio public record laws as part of the courthouse’s security measures.
The appeals court said, in part, that the Court of Claims should have considered affidavits submitted by Hanlin, based on her personal knowledge of the situation, that the video met the security exemption under state law.