NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Open records advocates say a judge's decision to seal all of the trial evidence used to convict two former Vanderbilt football players of rape is unusual and overly broad.
Key to the convictions were graphic photos and video of the assault taken and shared on cellphones. That evidence had been under a protective order for months. But last week, the judge went a step further and sealed all the evidence.
Frank Gibson is the public policy director for the Tennessee Press Association. He said he understands the concern for protecting the victim but the judge needs to balance the victim's rights with the public's right to scrutinize the justice system. He said it is not clear that the balancing act took place in this case.