Skip to main content
Publish date:

Decision to limit media access in Noor trial causes uproar

Journalists and media outlets are "vehemently" opposing the judge's ruling.
Mohamed Noor

This week, a Hennepin County district judge made a decision that will significantly limit media access to the murder trial of Mohamed Noor, and journalists aren't happy about it. 

Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer, is charged with 2nd-degree intentional murder, 3rd degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting of Justine Damond, which happened while he was on duty in 2017.

Though it's "one of the biggest murder trials in Minnesota history," Judge Kathryn L. Quaintance has decided to cut access to "full in person coverage" in the courtroom, limiting public seating to "just 11 seats," a release from Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists (MNSPJ) says.

The judge has also issued orders stating that "reporters can't seek interviews from attorneys, witnesses or jurors involved in the case, (which) could amount to unconstitutional prior restraint," the organization said in a tweet. 

Prior restraint refers to "government action that prohibits speech or other expression before the speech happens," Cornell Law School notes, adding that it's often found to be in violation of the First Amendment. 

Additionally, the Star Tribune reports, the trial will be held in courtroom that's about "half the size of some others in the building."

The paper says Quaintance issued the orders  "to preserve 'order and decorum,'" in what is sure to be a high-profile case. 

Nonetheless, the MNSPJ is not mincing words in its reaction to the restrictions, calling them "unprecedented," and urging the court to reverse them:

We call on the chief judge of Hennepin County court along with Minnesota Supreme Court administration to change the courtroom in this case to allow for the largest possible space and fully open access to this important trial.

These kind of restrictions are unprecedented in the history of Minnesota jurisprudence. We consider these restrictions serious breaches of the public trust.

However, it should be noted that reporters will still have access to the proceedings via "an overflow room with video and audio," which the media petitioned for and was granted, MNSPJ says.

Noor fatally shot Damond while investigating a possible sex assault behind the woman's house, as she had called 911 to report the crime. He and his partner reported being startled by a loud noise shortly before Damond approached their squad car, at which point Noor opened fire. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him earlier this month; his trial is set to begin April 1. 

Next Up

flickr - gov tim walz - mn senate dfl

After 'extraordinary' revenue growth, MN projects $7.7B surplus

But finance officials note there is still "significant risk" due to economic uncertainty.

amelia huffman

Deputy Chief Amelia Huffman named interim chief of the Minneapolis PD

She lives in Uptown and has been with the MPD for 27 years.

Pixabay - hospital emergency room sign

Deputy injured when fleeing suspect crashes into his vehicle

The 34-year-old deputy was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Vineeta Sawkar

Vineeta Sawkar named as WCCO Radio’s new morning host

She succeeds the legendary Dave Lee, who retired earlier this year.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, December 7

The latest from the state health department.

no dancing

Footloose! Duluth scraps Prohibition-era ban on unlicensed dancing

Establishments had to have a license to allow the public to dance.

ted mann concert hall - university of minnesota

2 armed suspects rob victim at U of M concert hall

The two suspects pointed guns at the victim.

West St Paul, Minnesota - June 2019

Nine police agencies called in for crowd control after 2 shot in West St. Paul

Police say a large group "attempted to take control" of part of the crime scene.

Brooklyn Center police, Daunte Wright

Brooklyn Center approves $1.3M public safety budget, including policing reforms

The city will use some money from the police department for the new programs.

snow, slush

Snow impacting morning commute across southern Minnesota

A quick inch could make a bit of a mess on the roads.

Related

Mohamed Noor

What happened at Mohamed Noor's pre-trial hearing?

The former Minneapolis officer pleaded not guilty in the killing of Justine Damond.

An overview of the jury in Justine Damond shooting trial

Former police officer Mohamed Noor is charged in her killing.

Mohamed Noor

What's the latest with the Mohamed Noor trial?

The former Minneapolis police officer is charged with the murder and manslaughter of Justine Damond.

Mohamed Noor

Ex-Minneapolis cop Noor sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison

Noor was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of Justine Damond.

Mohamed Noor

Mohamed Noor guilty of murder, manslaughter in death of Justine Damond

The 10-person jury began deliberations Monday afternoon.

Mohamed Noor

Appeals court upholds Mohamed Noor's conviction in Justine Damond's death

It's not clear if Noor will appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Mohamed Noor

Supreme Court tosses Noor's 'depraved-mind murder' conviction

He will be resentenced, but only on the manslaughter conviction.

Mohamed Noor

Ex-Minneapolis cop Noor resentenced to 57 months in prison

Justine Ruszczyk Damond's fiancé said he forgives Noor.