Las Vegas district judge rules coroner can enter newsroom against federal law to seize and destroy 1 Oct. victim’s autopsy report

Judge’s unconstitutional ruling violates the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 which protects journalists and newsrooms from being raided by the government

LAS VEGAS (INTELLIHUB) — A major newsroom battled the widow of a slain metro police officer in a wrapped-up district courtroom Friday, after the plaintiff filed a motion to have her late husband’s autopsy report sealed from the general public’s viewing, against state law.

The news comes after District Judge Richard Scotti acted as a shill on behalf the widow and those pulling her strings from behind the scenes.

After a vigorous two-hour-long battle the judge made it clear to the defendant that there would be no compromise.





“We can have a representative from the coroner’s office go over there and look at the records that the Review-Journal has or the AP has and locate the particular record that we’re dealing with today, and we can destroy that one record. And the Associated Press, the RJ can maintain possession of the other records,” Scotti said.

“Your Honor, it is unprecedented and impermissible to allow a governmental entity to go to the newspaper’s office and to go through their files,” the frustrated newspaper’s attorney Maggie McLetchie explained.

You see, the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 protects journalists and newsrooms from having to turn over to law enforcement any works, products, documentary materials, and sources, before they have been disseminated to the public so things like this can’t happen. Yet, even so, the judge carried on with the shenanigans.

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Additionally, the ruling bars the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the AP, and over one-hundred other news outlets from further reporting on Hartfield’s autopsy details which surely contain some information of significance.

Due to the unprecedented nature of the ruling, the Review-Journal’s legal team plans to file an emergency appeal in an effort to keep the records public, as Nevada law already dictates.

In response to the judge’s order, the newsroom issued an internal memo telling staffers to immediately contact their higher-ups if the anyone from the Clark County Coroner’s Office or LVMPD were to show up to the building over the weekend.

Editor of The Nevada Independent Jon Ralston Tweeted the following on Saturday, in a three-part Tweet: “The attack on good journalism is not just coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania. Here in Vegas, this headline is almost surreal.”

“Good for @reviewjournal for appealing this ludicrous order. And the outcome has resulted in an extraordinary memo to staff from management Friday, which I post here with management numbers redacted,” the outspoken editor continued.

In Tweet 3 of 3, Ralston wrote: “The fact that a newspaper is worried about officers of the state coming into the newsroom to find and destroy a document is amazing. But it’s hard to argue this is an overreaction based on the judge’s insane order. Would be a huge, national story if it happened.”

As a caveat, email correspondence between the Clark County Coroner’s Office and investigative reporter John Cullen reveals the coroner may have had some type of head’s up regarding the judge’s ruling. In fact, Clark County Public Communications spokesman Dan Kulin told Mr. Cullen last Thursday in an email that the coroner will not be releasing the autopsy records because an upcoming court hearing “may change things.”

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@iamjohncullen/Twitter

More on this as it develops.

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Shepard Ambellas is an opinion journalist, analyst, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub News & Politics (Intellihub.com). Shepard is also known for producing Shade: The Motion Picture (2013) and appearing on Travel Channel’s America Declassified (2013). Shepard is a regular contributor to Infowars. Shepard is the leading journalist covering the Las Vegas Massacre, logging over 800+ hours, 130+ reports, during his ongoing investigation. Read more from Shep’s World. Follow Shep on Facebook. Subscribe to Shep’s YouTube channel.