Prosecution and defense attorneys in the case of former state lawmaker Steve Nunn, accused of killing his former fiancée, on Thursday argued about what information and evidence the prosecution is required to hand over to the defense before Fayette Circuit Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine.
During the hearing, which lasted more than an hour and a half, Goodwine said she would require the prosecution to provide the defense with copies of any exculpatory, as well as incriminating, statements pertaining to the case that have been made by Nunn. At one point in the hearing Goodwine said she thought prosecutors had agreed to provide any exculpatory evidence it had.
The judge, turning down a defense request, said she would not order the prosecution to run criminal background checks on every witness the prosecution intended to call in the case. The judge also denied a defense request for mental health records of prosecution witnesses, saying that allowing unrestricted intrusion into the mental health records of all prosecution witnesses was an invasion of privacy.
Appearing in court for the first time on Nunn's behalf was attorney Bette Niemi, regarded in legal circles as one of the state's most accomplished defense attorneys in capital murder cases.
Niemi, in a discussion about a defense request for the names and addresses of people interviewed by police in connection with the case, said, "We're trying to prevent being surprised by statements that were made . . . that we have never heard of before."
Said Goodwine: "Trust me, there's not going to be any last minute surprises in this case."
Assistant Commonwealth's attorney Lou Anna Red Corn said repeatedly that many of the defense team's requests were too broad in scope.
"The potential for us to make a misstep is so great when these things are written so broadly," she said.
Nunn, the son of former Kentucky governor Louie Nunn, is accused of shooting 29-year-old Amanda Ross multiple times on Sept. 11 outside her Lexington home.
Nunn, who was not in court for Thursday's hearing, was taken to the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange for a court-ordered mental evaluation on January 25. Goodwine ordered that Nunn undergo the evaluation to determine whether he is competent to assist in his own defense. The court is awaiting a report on Nunn from the psychiatric center.
Goodwine set a March 26 date for a hearing about a competency hearing for Nunn.