Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Louisville judges say juvenile case of soldier guilty in military homicide should be opened

In the latest move toward opening of juvenile courts in Kentucky, a Louisville judge has affirmed a lower court's ruling that a newspaper could "inspect the homicide case of a 12-year-old boy charged a dozen years later with murdering a fellow ex-soldier in Colorado," reports The Courier-Journal, which sought the rulings. The paper's lawyer, Jon Fleischaker, said the case could help persuade other judges to open certain juvenile cases.

The case "captured national media attention as an example of the horrific crimes committed by some Iraq war veterans," Andrew Wolfson writes, adding that the newspaper wants to see if the juvenile case "was properly handled" and whether the perpetrator, Kenneth Eastridge, "should have been prohibited from enlisting later in the Army."

The judges said "the usual protection of the confidentiality of minors in criminal cases was outweighed by the fact that Eastridge was now an adult, the severity of the current murder charge and the public interest in learning from his case," Wolfson reports. "Assistant Public Defender J. David Niehaus said he will ask the state Court of Appeals to hear the case." (Read more)

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