Image by GmanViz via FlickrIn State ex rel. Toledo Blade Co. v. Henry County Court of Common Pleas (Slip Op. No. 2010-Ohio-1533), the Ohio Supreme Court this week unanimously overturned a gag order imposed by Judge Keith P. Muehlfeld as an unconstitutional affront to the First Amendment.
Judge Muehlfeld's order barred the news media from reporting on the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jayme Schwenkmeyer until a jury was impaneled in the trial of her boyfriend David Knepley. Judge Muehlfeld's order preceded both trials. [See "TUOL" posts 1/21/10 & 1/29/10.]
In its 16-page ruling, Ohio's high court recognized the presumption against the constitutional validity of imposing prior restraint on press coverage of a public trial. The Court cited the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Tory v. Cochran, 544 U.S. 734 (2005), that reiterated the longstanding view that "prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights."
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press submitted an amicus brief in the case.