City of Lexington taking a 'second look' at withholding Steve Nunn police file

Case usually closed upon sentencing

jkegley@herald-leader.comJuly 19, 2011 

The city's Law Department is revisiting its decision not to release the criminal case file of former state lawmaker Steve Nunn until after Nunn has completed his life sentence in prison.

"At Mayor (Jim) Gray's request, the city's Law Department is taking a second look at the decision concerning Mr. Nunn's records," city spokeswoman Susan Straub said Monday evening.

The Herald-Leader had requested the case file under the Kentucky Open Records Act after Nunn, 58, pleaded guilty on June 28 to fatally shooting his ex-fiancée, Amanda Ross.

The police department, citing a 1992 Kentucky Supreme Court decision, responded with a letter saying the request would not be fulfilled until Nunn completed his life sentence in prison.

The police department typically considers cases closed once a defendant has been sentenced. The newspaper has previously received investigative case files while criminal defendants were alive and serving probation or prison sentences.

Robert Houlihan Jr., an attorney for the newspaper, sent the Division of Police a letter Friday afternoon asking that the records be released "immediately." The newspaper could appeal the open records denial to the state attorney general's office, or by going directly to Fayette Circuit Court.

On Monday, officer Aaron Kidd, custodian of records for the Lexington Division of Police, said he could not release the files. Kidd said that the decision not to release the records came from the city's Law Department.

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