County attorney wants open juvenile court, teen gains attention - News, Weather & Sports

County attorney wants open juvenile court, teen gains attention for tweeting accusers names

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – There's a push to make juvenile court proceedings more open to the public. This comes after a teen gained national attention when she was faced with contempt charges for tweeting the names of two boys accused of sexually abusing her.

The contempt motion against Savannah Dietrich, 17, was dropped. On Wednesday Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell says he hopes to introduce new legislation at the next session in hopes of making juvenile court cases, like Dietrich's, open to the public.

Kentucky's juvenile confidentiality law is one of the strictest in the country, but O'Connell said it's time for that to change.

"For the benefit of the court, the accused, the victim, and the public, it's my opinion that juvenile court needs to be open to an acceptable degree of public scrutiny," said O'Connell.

This proposal comes on the heels of a Louisville case that quickly went viral. The allegations stem from a party last summer. Two teen boys plead guilty to sexual abuse and voyeurism.
Dietrich's attorney says the boys took pictures of the attack. 

David Mejia is the attorney for one of the boys involved in this case. He says after a plea deal was reached, the judge ordered no one to speak about the case, but Dietrich was frustrated with the outcome and took to her twitter account naming both teens involved.
"She identified herself and the two boys and she also stated that she was raped which was never a charge, never an allegation," said Mejia. "She used that term and that term went viral."

A motion to charge Dietrich with contempt was eventually dropped. "We withdrew the motion because the purpose behind it was to protect their identities and that was lost," said Mejia.

Thomas Clay now represents Dietrich. "I believe that any person who is part of this criminal justice system, who's been victimized should be freed to talk about it to any medium she wants to," said Clay.

Clay says he is also in favor of more open juvenile court proceedings. "There are a lot of things that happen behind closed doors, which if these things were subjected to the public scrutiny probably would not happen," said Clay.

On Monday there is a court hearing. Clay hopes the judge will allow Dietrich to openly discuss this case with anyone she chooses.

If you would like to help Savannah Dietrich you can.  Kim Meyer, a woman inspired by her case, set up a fund for her. For more information click here.
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