Filing alleges judge held secret meeting, considers sending shooting suspect back to juvenile court

PADUCAH- Attorneys for WPSD Local 6 filed new legal paperwork Thursday accusing Marshall County Circuit Judge Jamie Jameson of overseeing a secret hearing in the case of Gabriel Parker.

Parker is the 15-year old charged as an adult in the Marshall County High School Shootings.

Two teenagers died: 15-year-olds Bailey Holt and Preston Cope. 18 others were wounded.

Paxton Media Group (PMG) filed the petition on behalf of The Paducah Sun, Marshall County Tribune Courier, and WPSD. This is the second petition for writ of mandamus or prohibition we have filed with the Kentucky Court of Appeals this week.

In addition to the secret hearing, the filing says that Judge Jameson issued a gag order forbidding the Commonwealth Attorney, defense attorney, county attorney and assistant county attorney from distributing any information about the case to the public.

The judge then sealed the gag order so no one could view it. The filing says Jameson violated numerous rules regarding gag orders. There is no evidence the court held a special hearing prior to issuing the gag order.

The secret hearing over the telephone on February 19 involved Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jacob Ford and Parker’s attorney Tom Griffiths, with no prior docket entry.

That hearing resulted in an “Agreed Order” between the three.

During the hearing, Parker’s defense indicated that it intended to try to get the case transferred back to juvenile court.

Jameson ordered Parker’s attorney to file any motion challenging the Circuit Court’s jurisdiction by March 8.

Jameson gave the prosecutor until March 12 to file a response.

Thursday night, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jacob Ford released a statement regarding the secret meeting. In full, his statement reads:

“Anytime the public’s right to information in a criminal case is infringed, especially in a case of this magnitude, of course there is cause for concern. But the Commonwealth does not control the court room, nor the manner in which hearings are conducted. The court requested our presence, along with the Defendant’s counsel, to the conference in question on February 19, and it is our duty to represent the Commonwealth when called upon by the court, no matter the circumstance. My singular focus in this case since January 23 has been on the victims and their families, and it will remain as such until we have exhausted every possible avenue to prosecute Gabriel Parker to the fullest extent of the law as an adult. That is the task at hand and we remain fully committed to that cause.”

Our petition says that Jameson’s actions are unconstitutional and accuse him of attempting to conduct a high-profile murder case through a series of secret proceedings.

Kentucky law requires juveniles 14 or older to be transferred to Circuit Court as an adult when a firearm is used to commit a felony.

All records pertaining to the case, including video, are required to be opened as soon as the arraignment is complete.

The PMG petition challenges Jameson’s decision not to make the proceedings public.

PMG’s attorneys filed a separate petition earlier this week deeming Jameson’s decision to close Parker’s arraigment to the public as illegal.

That petition also accuses Jameson of trying to avoid scrutiny, illegally appointing a public defender for Parker, and interfering with a detective’s interview with Parker.

You can read the second petition for writ of mandamus or prohibition by clicking here.

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