CONNECTICUT–A Connecticut appellate court in early March overturned a judge’s decision barring the press and public from a pretrial hearing in a widely publicized rape case.
The defense had filed for a dismissal based on prosecutorial misconduct because of an article by Lynne Tuohy, a Hartford Courant reporter. The article, printed after Alex Kelly’s first trial in November 1996 ended in a hung jury, said that the prosecution had three witnesses who claimed that Kelly had also raped them around the same time he was charged with raping two teenage girls in 1986. Stamford Superior Court Judge Kevin Tierney had ordered the courtroom closed during the hearing on prosecutorial misconduct, at which Tuohy was subpoenaed to testify, because of concerns about prejudicial pretrial publicity.
Three days after the appellate court’s ruling, Tierney decided that a hearing was unnecessary. Consequently, Tuohy was not required to testify or turn over her records.
Kelly fled the country in February 1987, days before he was originally scheduled to stand trial. He was featured four times on the “America’s Most Wanted” television show and was extradited from Switzerland in May 1995 after authorities found letters, records and photographs showing that Kelly’s parents not only knew of his whereabouts but were supporting him financially. (Connecticut v. Kelly; Media Counsel: Ralph Elliot, Hartford)