Judge denies media ban from jury selection in Brett Hankison trial
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A motion filed by former Louisville Metro Police Department Officer Brett Hankison’s attorney’s to remove media organizations from the jury selection process has been denied.
Judge Ann Bailey Smith filed an order in Jefferson Circuit Court on Thursday denying the motion for the public and media to be closed off from individual voir dire, or preliminary juror examination.
Hankison’s attorney, Stew Matthews, argued to close off voir dire completely in an attempt to present Hankison with a fair trial.
Matthews previously stated that subsequent news coverage of the Breonna Taylor investigation has shaped what people in Jefferson County think of his client.
Hankison was the only officer charged in the March 2020 apartment raid that killed Taylor. However, Hankison’s charges of wanton endangerment stems from firing his gun into neighboring apartments.
No criminal charges were filed directly for Taylor’s death.
Lawyers for several media outlets, including the Associated Press, filed opposition to the order to close voir dire. The judge said Hankison had not “carried his burden of overcoming the presumption of openness of criminal trials” to the extent of closing voir dire to media outlets.
While the judge said individual voir dire was not closed, the order states all cameras will be prohibited inside the courtroom during the individual voir dire phase in an effort to protect the privacy of jurors selected.
Juror questioning is scheduled to begin on Feb. 1, with the trial extending through to March.
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