08-12-03: Records stay open in Kimberly
|By SHELLEY GRIESHOP
An Auglaize County judge on Friday denied the sealing of records
relating to the arrest of Kimberly Anderson for the shooting death of her husband Brent
Anderson in September 2001.
In a judgment entry filed Monday, Judge Frederick Pepple found
"the legitimate governmental interests of the state" and "the right of
public access" to outweigh Kimberly Anderson's request for right of privacy.
Kimberly Anderson's attorney in May filed the motion for expungement,
seeking to seal all records held by the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office, the Wapakoneta
Police Department, the Auglaize County Prosecutor's Office, the Bureau of Criminal
Investigation and Identification (BCI&I), the Auglaize County Data Center and the FBI.
Kimberly Anderson, 38, of Wapakoneta, was indicted by an Auglaize
County grand jury three months after she shot her estranged husband eight times in the
upstairs bedroom of a home they once shared in Wapakoneta. She was charged with murder,
aggravated murder and voluntary manslaughter, but was acquitted of all charges in October
The mother of four - the two youngest children fathered by Brent
Anderson - said she fired the gun in self-defense.
In the seven-page judgment entry filed Monday, Pepple countered several
arguments made by both the prosecution and defense during a hearing on the motion July 31
in Defiance County Common Pleas Court.
At the hearing, Anderson's attorney, Alan Konop of Toledo, told the
court his client was seeking the expungement "to get on with her life." He said
she wished to return to her previous career as a respiratory therapist and did not want
the arrest information, which was available to the public, to bias her opportunity for a
Konop also said Kimberly Anderson feared a routine traffic stop could
become a "nightmare" if her arrest record for murder surfaced.
In his judgment entry, Pepple said the Ohio Supreme Court, as recent as
last year, created a "presumption of openness" relating to the First Amendment
of the Constitution, which deals with the public's right to access court records. Pepple
said the presumption of openness may be overcome only "by an overriding
interest," which was not presented by the defense.
Auglaize County Prosecutor Ed Pierce reminded the court at the July
hearing that Kimberly Anderson was not concerned about her privacy when she consented to
numerous interviews with the media following the trial, including an appearance on the
nationally broadcast television talk show, "The John Walsh Show."
Pepple addressed Pierce's argument and agreed that Kimberly Anderson's
appearance on the show contradicted her argument for privacy.
Pepple also voiced concern for local law enforcement officers who may
have to testify in future litigation stemming from the criminal case. If law enforcement
officers are called upon to testify in a civil case, they could face a fourth-degree
misdemeanor by divulging sealed court information, Pepple wrote in the judgment entry.
"There is no protection afforded officers or others called upon to
testify," Pepple wrote, however, Kimberly Anderson would be protected under the law
when testifying, he added.
A wrongful death civil suit was filed by Brent Anderson's brother,
Kevin Anderson of Cincinnati, just weeks after the shooting. The civil suit sought
compensation for Brent and Kimberly Anderson's two young boys. The suit was dismissed in
March, but according to the statute of limitations, can be refiled before Sept. 2.
Several of Brent Anderson's siblings recently retained attorney Dale
Perdue of Columbus, who told The Daily Standard the civil suit will be refiled by the
Sept. 2 deadline. Perdue also offered a short comment on Pepple's decision.
"I feel the denial was correct on the facts and the law as it
applies to the motion," Perdue said.
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