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Expert: Blocking Nashville School Shooter Manifesto Release Would Alter Tennessee Law

A First Amendment Expert ⁢Weighs‍ In on the Release of a‌ Shooter’s Manifesto

In an interview with the New York‍ Post this week, a First Amendment expert ‌emphasized the ‌unprecedented nature of blocking⁢ the release of the manifesto of a transgender-identifying woman who shot six people at a⁤ Nashville⁢ Christian ‌school.

“There’s nothing really to indicate ‌that there would be this ability for victims​ to veto the release of otherwise public records and ‍in, ‍and in⁣ this case, crime‌ records,”

– Deborah Fisher, Executive Director of the ⁣Tennessee Coalition for Open Government

Deborah Fisher, ​also the director of Middle Tennessee ‌State University’s⁢ John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First ⁢Amendment Studies, explained that victims typically do not have the power to prevent the release⁤ of public ⁤crime⁣ records. Even in‌ cases where the shooter goes ⁣to trial, ⁣the writings of the shooter are often considered evidence.

However, ‍a ⁢group⁢ of parents and school officials have sought to keep the manifesto of the 28-year-old woman, who ⁢killed three children ​and three adults at The Covenant School in March, from being⁣ made public. Fisher argued that laws protecting ⁣Tennessee victims do not grant​ them complete authority over open record laws.

Privacy‍ Rights vs. Crime Records

Fisher clarified, “I don’t think that in that situation, ‌the victims could⁣ veto those being submitted in a public trial, and‌ I don’t⁣ think that they‌ can ​veto them being released as ‌crime evidence in a case that ‍doesn’t go to trial because the person is dead.”

While victims do have privacy rights established in ⁣Tennessee law, Fisher ​emphasized that granting them veto ‍power‌ over crime ​records would be a new development.

Several news outlets, including The‌ Daily Wire, have requested copies of the manifesto through open records laws⁤ but ‍have been denied thus far. A lawsuit is currently underway to determine whether ​Metro Nashville Police will be allowed to release the manifesto.

The shooting victims included three students and three staff members. The‌ shooter was shot and killed by Nashville police, ⁤who discovered various items at the shooter’s ​property.


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