Editor's Note: The Ohio Coalition for Open Government filed an amicus brief in support of the Enquirer's lawsuit. From The Columbus Dispatch
Justice Judith L. French, writing for the majority, said Gmoser failed to show that releasing the record would violate the U.S. Constitution or state law.
French said there’s no evidence the dispatcher returned the call and asked questions to prepare for a criminal proceeding. As a result, the recording could not become evidence just because it moved from the dispatcher’s office “to the prosecutor’s file,” French said.
French also said The Enquirer should be awarded attorneys’ fees and ordered a lower-court hearing to determine the amount.
Not only did Gmoser not have authority to withhold the call, he made things worse by asking a judge for a protective order keeping the call from being made public.
That action forced the newspaper into “a two-front war” as it sought the recording while defending itself against the protective order, French said.
“These tactics do not demonstrate good faith by the prosecutor’s office,” the justice wrote.
Justice Paul Pfeifer, who has argued in the past for limits on releases of 911 calls, said the recording was part of the prosecutor’s evidence and shouldn’t be made public.
Ray, 20, is serving a 15-year sentence for murder, according to prison records.