Judge Brian Hill Threatened Sue Brewington with Contempt of Court
A couple of weeks ago, someone suggested to my mom, Sue Brewington, that she make a public records request for the audio from the hearings/proceedings of my criminal trial. On January 12, 2012, Sue personally delivered a written public records request to the Office of the Dearborn County Superior Court II, Judge Sally Blankenship. On Saturday, January 14, 2012, Sue received an order from Judge Brian Hill. The order stated Sue was allowed to obtain the public records. Judge Hill’s order threatened Sue Brewington with criminal contempt if she shared the public records with any other member of the public. (See #4 in the order)
“The release of these audio records is hereby specifically limited to the personal review of said recordings to Sue A. Brewington.” “The recipient Sue A. Brewington is barred from broadcasting or any way publishing these recordings in any manner. Violation of this order may result in contempt proceedings.” The same judge who sentenced me to prison for intimidation is the same judge who is threatening Sue Brewington in an attempt to intimidate her from sharing public records with other members of the public.
Judge Hill’s “ruling” is disturbing because it discriminates against my family. Anyone is entitled to the audio from my criminal trial; Judge Hill just decided to set the precedence that each member of the public had to receive the public records through the Dearborn County Superior Court II and not from another member of the public; especially Sue Brewington. Judge Hill’s “ruling” basically states that every U.S. citizen is entitled to the court audio from the criminal trial of Dan Brewington but Judge Brian Hill has decided to force every U.S. citizen who is interested in reviewing the audio from my trial to pay Dearborn County for the right to listen to the public records and to wait an estimated 30 days for their public records request to be processed. If Judge Hill fails to place the broadcasting/publishing restrictions on future public requests for my trial audio, then it will prove that Judge Hill’s ruling on my mother’s public record request was discriminatory and threatening. If Judge Hill continues to rule that every U.S. citizen who is interested in obtaining the audio from the public record of my trial, then Judge Hill is effectively placing a public tax on acquiring public records in my case.
The record of my case is no different than thousands of other criminal cases. Aside from issuing a gag order or sealing records, trial records are public record. The premise of releasing public records is to promote transparency in efforts to maintain checks and balances on government. The public is entitled to acquire and share documents from my trial. The public is free to do the same with transcripts from the hearings. The public was free to sit in on the hearings and listen to witnesses and the overall court proceedings. Now Judge Brian Hill doesn’t want the public to have the same access to the audio. Judge Hill threatened Sue Brewington with contempt if she shared the audio from my trial; even with people who attended the original proceedings. What does Judge Hill and Dearborn County have to hide? Are the transcripts accurate? Is the court audio incriminating? Is Judge Hill claiming to “protect” the alleged victims in the case? If so, does he protect all victims in criminal trials when it comes to the release of public records or just judges and officers of the Court? Judge Hill sentenced me to prison for blogging “too much” about public officials. He said I was a bad candidate for probation because I would probably blog about the probation department. Judge Hill threatened to jail Sue Brewington if she shared public records from the trial. Judge Hill’s record of protecting public officials while disregarding constitutional rights is distressing, but it appears that Judge Brian Hill is threatening members of my family with criminal contempt in an effort to stifle free speech.
If you feel strongly about free speech, access to public records, please download a copy of Sue's public records request and mail the request to the address on the form. If Judge Hill fails to respond to new requests in the same manner as he did in the first order to Sue Brewington, it will only further demonstrate his discriminatory practices and disdain for the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Thank you for your support.