Naomi Judd Police Investigation Won’t Be Publicly Released (For Now)
An August court ruling that police must release their investigation into the death of Naomi Judd has been withdrawn, but the fate of the audio and video captured on April 30 and after is still very much in question.
Last Thursday (Sept. 29), Tennessee's Supreme Court vacated an Aug. 31 ruling by the Williamson County Chancellor that denied the Judd family's request to have the investigation kept private. News Channel 5 in Nashville notes that while the court didn't issue a new ruling, it sent the case back to the lower court for another hearing.
The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court took issue with part of Chancellor Joseph A. Woodruff's ruling — the part which states that specific records should be public, including body camera footage taken from inside Judd's house. A complete hearing on that issue is needed, the announcement adds. In making his decision on Aug. 31, Woodruff wrote that the records the family is trying to keep out of public eye, "do not appear to fall within any recognized exception to the Public Records Act."
Ashley Judd wrote an emotional op-ed for the New York Times that explained her family's stance. She admits to being interviewed several times as her mother was dying, and says she "gushed" answers without awareness that her words could be opened up for public scrutiny.
I want to be clear that the police were simply following terrible, outdated interview procedures and methods of interacting with family members who are in shock or trauma and that the individuals in my mother’s bedroom that harrowing day were not bad or wrong. I assume they did as they were taught ... It is now well known that law enforcement personnel should be trained in how to respond to and investigate cases involving trauma, but the men who were present left us feeling stripped of any sensitive boundary, interrogated and, in my case, as if I was a possible suspect in my mother’s suicide.
In the NYT piece she said she wasn't sure how the court would decide on their early-August petition, but indicated she would pursue changing public records laws either way.
Naomi Judd died by suicide on April 30, 2022. Last Friday (Sept. 30), Wynonna Judd opened the Judds Final Tour with a show in Grand Rapids, Mich. The next night, Ashley joined her sister on stage in Toledo, Ohio. The two women traded warm memories of their late mother and later sang "Love Can Build a Bridge" together.