CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. — Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland has filed a motion opposing a request to broadcast the trial for Delphi murder suspect Richard Allen, citing “serious concerns.”
Defense attorneys representing Allen filed a motion on Sept. 13 to allow broadcast cameras in courtrooms, citing an amendment to Rule 2.17 of the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct which regulates broadcasting, televising, recording and photographs in courtrooms.
The defense referenced an amendment to the rule that would have allowed the judge to allow the broadcasting of the legal process in their courtroom at their own discretion. This amendment took effect in May and would allow broadcasting as long as the means of recordings wouldn’t distract participants or affect the dignity of the proceedings.
The defense argued that since the Delphi investigation had reached national attention, the system of jurisprudence would be scrutinized in a way that is “untypical “unusual” in Indiana courts.
According to documents filed in Carroll Circuit Court Monday, McLeland said the broadcasting of pretrial and trial proceedings could “create the same concerns, if not more, given that an attorney is immune from libel proceedings for statements made in open court.”
According to the filings, McLeland also shared its concerns with the “inflammatory language” of the defense counsel.
“That Defense counsel continues to use inflammatory language in pleadings, including
statements that are simply not true, and there is no reason to think they will not continue
to use supercilious language in court, designed as soundbites for recording on the national
stage,” said McLeland.
The response also mentioned the problems that could potentially arise from the defense’s change of venue, as the defense cited prejudicial publicity in that request. McLeland said similar problems may also come from the public broadcasting of the pretrial hearings.
“That the Defense has already moved for change of venue, citing prejudicial publicity
and if the Court were to allow broadcasting of pretrial hearings, that publicity would be
pervasive and, as the Defendant notes, will be without boundaries given the world-wide
interest in the proceedings,” McLeland said.
The national interest in the court proceedings could also cause distractions for the court if broadcasting were to be permitted, McLeland said. It also went on to refer to the complex nature of the case, the large number of media outlets and the interest that would generate, the obligation to protect the identities of the jurors and the “sensitive content that it will be presented.”
The prosecutor also expressed concern for the enhanced platform members of the defense would have if the request to broadcast, if approved, could provide.
“That the Defense has already expressed its intent to attack not only the evidence, but the
credibility of those who investigated the case, which will allow the Defense team to
grandstand on camera about the imagined bad motives of the State actors,” McLeland said.
The response also references a concern with cameras being allowed in the courtroom due to this decision never previously being allowed in Carroll County Circuit Court. The state also referenced the magnitude of the case, sharing the concern that the Delphi court process could be the “pilot case in which cameras are allowed to record proceedings.”
“That allowing cameras in such highly-publicized and sensationalized case runs the risk
of creating circus atmosphere both in person and online, where 15-second clips taken
out of context can race around the world in seconds, giving an inaccurate impression of
the actual evidence and conduct of court proceedings,” McLeland said.
Allen is charged with two counts of murder in the case of the February 2017 murders of Libby German and Abby Williams. He was formally charged in the case after his arrest in October 2022.
A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2024, at 9 a.m.