INDIANAPOLIS — After a recent pretrial hearing in the case surrounding the killing of Marion County Deputy John Durm, the attorneys for the man suspected of killing Durm are asking the court to prevent any further “public release of potential evidence.”
On Monday, the legal team for Orlando Mitchell filed a motion in Marion County for a “reciprocal protective order” surrounding the release of evidence in the case.
This comes after the defense previously expressed frustration surrounding the recent release of the video showing Durm’s death by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. According to previous reports, the office’s video provided a timeline that led to Durm’s death was was the first time the critical incident video was shown to the public.
At a pretrial hearing, hosted earlier this month, Special Judge Mark Smith from Hendricks County said the release of the video could impact scheduling, jury selection and impact potential jurors. Officials with the defense said during the hearing they felt the state violated its protective order that the defense initially agreed to.
“I would expect (the prosecutors), just like you expect the defense counsel, to be in control of your witnesses,” Smith said during the hearing, “and be able to sit down and have a conversation with them and say ‘Hey, this is key evidence in this case. We have got a protective order in place that specifically prevents everything that happened in this case by one of your witnesses.”
According to the motion, officials said the state requested, and Mitchell’s team agreed to, a protective order on Aug. 10. On Aug. 30, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office hosted the news conference where they released the video, an event which the defense heard about that morning.
“The (Marion County Prosecutor’s Office) knew there was a protective order in place preventing the defense from doing exactly what the MCSD did and discussed with MCPO prior to doing – duplicating, distributing, transmitting or broadcasting recordings and video depicting the events of (July 10),” the motion reads.
Officials claimed in the previous order, Mitchell’s team was prevented from recording, duplicating or distributing any of the recordings and video, “or even possessing his own copy of the recordings and video.”
“Yet, now he and thousands of others have their own copy anytime they log onto the internet,” the motion reads.
The defense went on to say in the motion that trial courts have an “affirmative constitutional duty to minimize the effects of pretrial publicity,” stating that it benefits defendants, the prosecutors and the general public in the “fair administration of criminal justice.”
Mitchell’s legal team is asking for the previous protective order to be modified by stating that recordings, video and photos may not be “duplicated, distributed, transmitted or broadcasted in any manner by any witness, including any law enforcement agency.” They also ask experts or consultants of the matter to be bound by the conditions of the order, if they receive copies of evidence.
“Nobody with access to recordings, video footage or photos in this matter may send, duplicate, exhibit, print, distribute, sell, reproduce or copy any items received unless otherwise noted in this order,” the order reads. “However, the proposed order shall not be construed to prohibit the state of Indiana or defense counsel from entering the recordings, video or photos as exhibit(s) in the instant cause of action.”
A pretrial conference for this matter is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2024, according to court documents.