Naomi Judd Death Investigation Records – Ruling On Public Access Vacated By Tennessee Supreme Court

Tennessee’s state Supreme Court has vacated a ruling that required police to publicly release their investigation of country singer Naomi Judd’s death.

The Supreme Court did not rule on whether the records can be released, but sent the case back to the lower court for another hearing. 

Judd’s family has requested that police records which contain video and audio interviews with relatives in the immediate aftermath of Judd’s death not be made public.

Releasing such details would inflict “significant trauma and irreparable harm” on the family, the Judds petition said. It argued that the police investigative files are covered by an exemption to the state’s public records law.

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Williamson County Chancellor Joseph A. Woodruff ruled against the Judd family on Aug. 31, denying their request for an injunction to keep the records private while they pursue their legal case. Woodruff said the records “Do not appear to fall within any recognized exception to the Public Records Act.”

He added that public records include body camera footage taken inside of Judd’s home. But the Supreme Court said on Thursday that Woodruff should not have ruled on which specific records are public and which are private without a full hearing on the issue.

The court vacated Woodruff’s earlier ruling and sent the case back to the Chancery Court for a new hearing.

Judd died by suicide on April 30 at her home in Tennessee at age 76.

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