An Ohio judge has ordered the news media not to report on a criminal trial involving the death of a toddler, even though it is open to the public, The [Toledo] Blade reported.
Henry County trial court Judge Keith P. Muehlfeld said reporters can attend the trial of a mother charged with involuntary manslaughter after her 13-month-old daughter’s overdose, but cannot report on the proceedings until the jury is chosen next week in the trial of the mother’s boyfriend, who was also charged.
Citing concerns that the jury pool in the second trial could be tainted, Muehlfeld’s order also forbids attorneys and witnesses from speaking to the media about the case until a jury is seated, The Blade reported.
A judge from a neighboring county told The Blade that there are other ways to preserve an impartial jury pool in separate but related cases, including holding tandem trials or selecting both juries at the same time and seating them in the courtroom.
"It probably added a day or so to the trial, but it worked quite well and nothing happened on appeal and nobody said there was any problem," Lucas County Judge James Bates told The Blade.
In a different, but relevant case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that judges must consider alternatives to exclusion of the public during jury selection in criminal trials and that the trials are presumptively open.