U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns today issued a three-page ruling denying a request that the autopsy reports from the January 8th shootings in Tucson be kept from public view.
Prosecutors in the case had requested that the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office keep the information out of the public eye. And some family members had also asked that the autopsies of the six people killed in the shooting be kept private.
But Judge Burns wrote that no evidence was presented to him showing that the release of the documents is imminent. The judge continued that, even though some media outlets have requested copies of the autopsy reports, those requests can be legally denied if, “the best interests of the state may outweigh the public interest in disclosure."
The ruling notes that since the prosecution did not include the autopsy reports in the motion to keep them sealed, he has no way of knowing whether or not they contain information that could prejudice a jury if made public.
The judge’s ruling also denies a request for a gag order on the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office. Judge Burns did write, however, that the request for a gag order and sealing of the autopsy records can be brought up again at a later date.