Do they have a case?
Last night was the big sit down with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as they were interviewed by Megyn Kelly on the Fox News Network. Needless to say there was A LOT to cover.
One point that was brought up though, was the Freedom of Information act and whether or not the Police Chief Kathy O'Kelley leaking the juvenile records to In Touch Weekly and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette was legal.
[ Related: Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald Address Brother Josh Duggar's Molestation Past! ]
This is because the Freedom of Information laws in Arkansas, state that juvenile records are supposed to remain confidential and are not subject to disclosure.
Before her interview, Megyn made an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor and brought up:
"One of the questions I want to get to is: How do we know about this? There appears to be a police chief in their jurisdiction who improperly released the police report."
The Police Chief Kathy O'Kelley, who is the custodian of records, is the person who would have been the one to approve the release. Though O'Kelley would have gone to the city attorney as well, and they would have made a decision together based on how they interpreted the letter of the law; it still begs the question, is what they did lawful?
When Kelly had the sit-down with the Duggars, she revisited the topic of the leak and Jim Bob Duggar chimed in with his thoughts on the issue saying:
"It has been an unprecedented attack on our family. And this information was released illegally. And so I'm wondering why all this press is not going after the system for releasing these juvenile records. That is a huge story."
When questioned on what actions he might take, he said:
"We're talking to some attorneys about that right now and we'll see."
Kelly had further analysis of the legal matter on her show, The Kelly File when she brought criminal defense attorney, Mark Eiglarsh on her show to discuss the legality of the leak. He had quite a bit to say and made his point of view obvious by saying:
"You don't need a law degree, Megyn, it is crystal clear as Trace pointed out. I did the research as well to see maybe there's some ambiguity somewhere. It's so clear, fundamental to the justice system, the juvenile justice system, since its inception in Chicago in 1899, is that all proceedings, reports and records shall, meaning must, remain sealed. While I'm glad we know this information, I'm equally as outraged as to how we know it. [She] must be fired."
Eiglarsh and Jim Bob aren't the only ones either. Back in May, State Senator Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, was calling for the police chief to be fired. He felt it was unlawful and
"The law to protect minors' identities is not a suggestion. So sad to see the person charged with protecting the community being so reckless and irresponsible. I believe it is unavoidable that the Springdale police chief should be terminated. She has re-victimized these young ladies."
Of course there was the other side of the coin as well represented by Arthur Aidala, a Fox News contributor who said if he were tasked with defending the police chief before a court, he would say:
"The police chief did exactly what she's supposed to do. She goes to the city attorney, which is the highest ranking lawyer in their community and says here's this request I have, you have to tell me how to interpret it…They made a decision that if everyone's name was redacted the defendant and the victims, and that document turned over, you're just turning over a fact scenario, that nobody, and it would have been in the public interest to turn that over."
Kelly of course pointed out that the identities of in involved parties were obvious, even after redactions, and at the end of the day:
"We are talking about the sealed records of child molestation victims, who did not consent to have what was done to them released."
There has been no official word from the police chief but the mayor released a statement in defense of O'Kelley's actions by saying:
"From every indication I have the chief and city attorney reluctantly did what they had to do to comply with the state FOI (freedom of information) law."
It's obvious that what Josh did was absolutely heinous and appalling, but looking at another side of the story, were the Police Chief's and City Attorney's decision lawful? Should juvenile victims have sealed files with no exceptions?
In this day and age with how easy information is to access, it's hard to keep anything hidden, but shouldn't we at least protect our children?
[Image via FOX NEWS.]
Tags: legal matters, news, the duggars