CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. — The defendant in the 2017 Delphi murders case has filed a motion to authorize the public broadcasting of future proceedings in the courtroom.
The filing on Wednesday said that Richard M. Allen understood Rule 2.17 of the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct which generally would “prohibit broadcasting, televising, recording or photographs in the courtroom.”
However, the defense cited the recent amendment to the rule that would allow the judge’s discretion to authorize the broadcasting of legal proceedings in their courtroom.
The rule that took effect in May 2023 would permit broadcasting as long as the means of the recordings wouldn’t distract participants or impair the dignity of the proceedings.
Allen and his team added that the facts and circumstances around the Delphi investigation have reached national public attention. They said that the system of jurisprudence will be scrutinized in a manner that is “unusual and rare in Indiana courts.”
In a recent pilot program Special Judge Fran Gull also took part in, feedback was provided from judges and professionals about the public trust in the judicial system.
Wednesday’s filing detailed some of the feedback from the Spring 2022 program:
“The judicial branch is the least understood branch of government…And here you’ve
got millions of Hoosiers counting on it for justice every year in Indiana,” said Indiana Chief Justice Rush.
“So why not pull the curtains out and say, ok, this is what we are doing and this is why we are doing it…the sky is not going to fall, since there are safeguards in place.”
The defense ends the filing by stating the justice system and general public will benefit from the broadcast of the pre-trial hearings and any trial that may happen in this case for the following reasons (in summary):
- A high level of viewership will offer up the opportunity for constructive feedback at the conclusion of the case;
- The sitting judge in the case participated in the cameras in the courtroom pilot program and communicated her positive experiences;
- Carroll County Circuit Court has an unusually large courtroom offering adequate space to allow for the broadcasting team to work in an unobstructed manner;
- Law enforcement routinely sought out the help of the public through press conferences and allowing the public to observe will build trust of the public moving forward;
- Time passed since the alleged crime has resulted in the aging of child witnesses so the defense anticipates very few minors, if any, who will testify in the case;
- Family members of the victims have voluntarily taken to social media and other media outlets, participating in coverage of the investigation over the past six years;
- Many witnesses anticipated will be law enforcement and experts who are generally comfortable in courtroom proceedings;
- Many of the circumstances of the case were kept confidential and the order on confidentiality in the courtroom has been lifted.
Allen is charged with two counts of murder in the case of the February 2017 murders of Libby German and Abby Williams. He was formally charged in the case after his arrest in October 2022.
A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2024, at 9 a.m.