Judge Delays Decision on Releasing Full Wetterling Case File

Judge Delays Decision on Releasing Full Wetterling Case File Photo: KSTP

August 11, 2017 08:18 PM

A Minnesota judge says she hasn't decided whether to allow several media organizations to join a legal dispute over whether to release case files from the Jacob Wetterling investigation.

The first public hearing was held Friday about access to the investigative files from the 1989 kidnapping and killing of 11-year-old Jacob.

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The case went unsolved until last year, when Danny Heinrich confessed to sexually assaulting and killing the boy. Heinrich led authorities to the boy's remains on a farm near Paynesville.

RELATED: Judge Grants Extension Request for Documents in Wetterling Case

The boy's parents, Jerry and Patty Wetterling, sued Stearns County to block the release of some documents they say contain personal information.

Several media organizations and open-government groups are asking to intervene. They argued Friday that the full case should be made public. KSTP is one of the organizations seeking to intervene.

RELATED: Media, Transparency Advocates Fight to Make Wetterling Files Public

The media organizations' lawyer argues in court documents that the Wetterlings' claim of a "constitutional privacy right," does not override "statutes that have long governed the classification of records maintained by state and local government agencies in Minnesota, in particular, the Minnesota Data Practices Act."

District Judge Ann Carrott didn't immediately rule. She's giving both sides 10 days to file responses.

Mark Anfinson, the lawyer representing the media organizations said the judge has 90 days to issue a ruling after the responses are filed.


 

Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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