LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Local prosecutors and defense attorneys in a Kentucky county are ending a longtime policy of including police reports, interviews and other evidence in a public criminal court file.

For decades, Jefferson County has been among few jurisdictions in Kentucky to go beyond the state law’s requirements by having a local policy instructing prosecutors and defense attorneys to file evidence not only with each other but also in the public case file, the Courier Journal reported . The policy change would not make evidence public unless a case goes to trial or otherwise ends, which could be years after the case is filed.

According to the amended rule approved by Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. on Feb. 9, prosecutors and defense attorneys “shall not file discovery documents or exhibits with the court” unless either side requests it or if the judge in the case needs it.

County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said Monday the change is over issues of witnesses’ safety, victims’ privacy and a defendant’s right to a fair trial and impartial jury.

The public will be able to get access to evidence with an open records request to the law enforcement agency that handled the case after prosecution has ended, Wine also said


Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com