Tennessee Supreme Court halts release of police records connected to Naomi Judd’s death

Case has been sent back for full hearing at lower level.

Updated: October 1, 2022 - 5:36pm

The Tennessee state Supreme Court on Friday vacated a lower court’s ruling ordering the release of police records related to the death of Naomi Judd, with the high court sending the case back to a state chancery court for further review.

Williamson County Chancellor Joseph Woodruff had previously ruled that police investigations into Judd’s death in April could be released under the state’s public records law. The Judd family had earlier asked for an exception to that law, citing what they said would be the "significant trauma" inflicted if police interviews with family members were shown to the public. 

Yet Woodruff in his ruling attempted to signal out certain specific records as being open to disclosure. In its decision, the state Supreme Court said that making such distinctions was beyond the scope of Woodruff’s decision.

The high court said a full hearing should be held on the matter to determine the full breadth of disclosure to which the documents are subject. 

Judd was found dead on Apr. 30 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head; she had been suffering from mental illness for years prior to her suicide.