A Nashville judge has moved to seal police records and evidence related to the murder case against a city police officer.
The ruling on Tuesday is a win for Officer Andrew Delke’s defense team. It will keep hidden records that have been public in almost all cases for 30 years in Nashville’s criminal courthouse.
Judge Monte Watkins wrote that the Tennessee Supreme Court has made clear that disclosure of files during the pre-trial discovery phase could influence jurors and harm the constitutional right to a fair proceeding (view order as PDF).
Watkins said he found one justice’s dissenting opinion persuasive, which argued for the materials being public — but that he sided with the majority of the state Supreme Court, which warned of “harmful and irreversible” disclosures.
Separately, Watkins also ruled that the officer can keep his current pair of attorneys.
They had been questioned over possible conflicts of interest because they represent other officers who may testify. Watkins says that would cause a problem, so he has agreed with a defense team proposal in which the other officers will get different lawyers until the case ends.