WPSD TV, THE PADUCAH SUN, AND THE MARSHALL COUNTY TRIBUNE-COURIER PETITIONERS
HONORABLE JAMES T. JAMESON, JUDGE, MARSHALL CIRCUIT COURT RESPONDENT AND GABRIEL ROSS PARKER, AND COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY REAL PARTIES IN INTEREST
ORIGINAL ACTIONS ARISING FROM MARSHALL CIRCUIT COURT ACTION
ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONERS: Jon L. Fleischaker Michael P.
Abate Casey L. Hinkle Louisville, Kentucky.
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: Randy Blankenship Erlanger,
Kentucky R. Kent Westberry Louisville, Kentucky.
ATTORNEY FOR REAL PARTY IN INTEREST, GABRIEL ROSS PARKER, A
JUVENILE: Tom Griffiths Department of Public Advocacy
BEFORE: JOHNSON, JONES, AND J. LAMBERT, JUDGES.
OPINION AND ORDER 
an original proceeding for a writ of mandamus or prohibition.
WPSD, The Paducah Sun, and the Marshall County
Tribune-Courier (Petitioners) filed with this Court two
petitions for relief pursuant to CR 76.36. The petition filed in
2018-CA-000277 seeks release, by the Marshall Circuit Court,
of the recording of the criminal arraignment held on February
16, 2018, in Case No. 18-CR-00030, and to allow media access
to further criminal proceedings held in the case. The
petition filed in 2018-CA-000279 requests relief from what
Petitioners believe to be a sealed gag order and further
seeks access to the circuit court record in Marshall Circuit
Court Case No. 18-CR-00030.
standards for evaluating a petition for a writ of prohibition
or mandamus under each class are stated in Hoskins v.
Maricle, 150 S.W.3d 1, 10 (Ky. 2004):
A writ . . . may be granted upon a showing that (1)
the lower court is proceeding or is about to proceed outside
of its jurisdiction and there is no remedy through an
application to an intermediate court; or (2) that the lower
court is acting or is about to act erroneously, although
within its jurisdiction, and there exists no adequate remedy
by appeal or otherwise and great injustice and irreparable
injury will result if the petition is not granted.
by way of prohibition or mandamus is an extraordinary remedy
and we have always been cautious and conservative both in
entertaining petitions for and in granting such relief."
Bender v. Eaton, 343 S.W.2d 799, 800 (Ky. 1961).
Petitions for writs of mandamus alleging that a court is
acting erroneously, but within its jurisdiction, will not be
granted "unless the petitioner established, as
conditions precedent, that he (a) had no adequate remedy by
appeal or otherwise, and (b) would suffer great and
irreparable injury (if error has been committed and relief
denied)." Id. at 801.
also moved the Court, pursuant to CR 76.36(4), for
intermediate relief pending resolution of the petitions. On
March 1, 2018, this Court entered an order granting the
motions for intermediate relief. The order prohibited the
Respondent from closing any further proceeding in the case
which would ordinarily be open to the public. The order also
prohibited the Respondent from sealing any records in the
case, except upon motion of a party followed by compliance
with the applicable procedures mandated by its cited
jurisprudence. The order was to remain in effect pending the
adjudication of the petitions for writ of mandamus by a
three-judge panel of this Court.
Court recognized when granting intermediate relief in this
case that it would "ring a bell" that could not be
unrung after review by the three-judge panel. For the same
reasons this Court found that the actions of the Respondent
presented immediate and irreparable harm and warranted
granting the motions for intermediate relief, the petitions
for writ of mandamus and prohibition are hereby GRANTED. The
order entered on March 1, 2018, written by Hon. Judge Glenn
Acree, included a statement of all the relevant facts and a
thorough analysis of the legal issues. We adopt it as our
These proceedings arise from the tragic schoolground shooting
at Marshall County High School on January 23, 2018. Real
Party in Interest, Gabriel Ross Parker, fifteen years of age,
has been charged with firing a handgun into a crowd of
students, killing two and injuring numerous others. These
circumstances required initiation of a "public offense
Because Parker had not reached the age of majority, his case
was addressed initially under Kentucky's juvenile code.
The district court conducted a preliminary hearing to
determine whether there was "probable cause to believe
that the child [Parker] committed a felony, that a firearm
was used in the commission of that felony, and that the child
was fourteen (14) years of age or older at the time of the
commission of the alleged felony." KRS 635.020(4). The
district court did find probable cause and followed the
legislative mandate that Parker "shall be
transferred to the Circuit Court for trial as an adult . . .
." Id. (emphasis added). The order to transfer
was entered by the district court on February 9, 2018.
"[O]nce the district court has reasonable cause to
believe that a child before the court has committed a firearm
felony as described in subsection (4) of KRS 635.020,
jurisdiction vests in the circuit court . . . ."
Commonwealth v. Halsell, 934 S.W.2d 552, 556 (Ky.
1996) (finding KRS 635.020(4) constitutional and in harmony
with KRS 640.010(2)). Consequently, on February 13, 2018, the
Marshall County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging
Parker with two (2) counts of murder and fourteen (14) counts
of first degree assault.
On February 16, 2018, the Respondent conducted an
arraignment, but closed the arraignment to the public and
The Respondent's February 20, 2018 order states that
"[d]uring the defendant's arraignment hearing on
February 16th, 2018, defendant's counsel
objected to the jurisdiction of this [circuit] Court claiming
the transfer to Circuit Court from the juvenile division of
the District Court was not proper." Parker then pleaded
Because of the challenge to the circuit court's
jurisdiction, the Respondent, in this same February 20, 2018
order, sealed all court records except for the indictment
until it could rule on Parker's challenge to transfer.
The order allows Parker until March 8, 2018, to brief the
challenge to transfer and allows the Commonwealth until March
12, 2018, to respond.
On February 22, 2018, Petitioners filed petitions for writs
of mandamus, and motions for intermediate relief, to compel
the trial court to: (1) disclose the recording of the
arraignment, (2) conduct all further proceedings in public,
(3) dissolve a "gag" order that is allegedly,
secretly prohibiting counsel and others with knowledge of the
case from speaking about the case, and (4) unseal all circuit