Judge rules in favor of Council, orders police tapes released
The case of the South Bend Common Council against the South Bend Administration has taken nearly a decade to work its way through the court system.
Just last month, the council modified its original subpoena to nine conversations on five cassette tapes made between February 4 and July 15, 2011. The council also asked the court to determine whether the intervenors, the officers, had standing in the case.
A hearing was held last week to determine if the remaining officers who were intervenors in the case had standing. If not, there would be no trial.
The order issued on Monday is in response to that hearing.
The judge found the new intervenors, James Taylor, Scott Hanley and Sheldon Scott, did not have standing because they were not on the recordings. He also found Tim Corbett and Steve Richmond, two original intervenors, were not on the recordings.
The court had already determined the original intervenors did not have standing.
The judge's decision says the tapes must be produced because there is no opposition from anyone with standing of the case. The court did not determine whether or not the tapes were made legally or illegally.
The judge noted the administration did not have any objections to complying with the subpoena to hand over the tapes.
They cannot be released until appeals are complete.
In addition to ruling in favor of the council's subpoena for the tapes, the judge noted he was not making a legal decision as to whether the tapes can be listened to, disseminated or published in any way. He said the ruling was merely a "no decision" because there were no remaining parties with standing to prevent their release.
In the conclusion to his order, the judge stated based on evidence, the contents of the tapes are likely important but are not the "bombshell" they have been made out to be.
He ends it with, encouraging "everyone involved to once again make a concerted effort to resolve this conflict and lift the cloud that has stubbornly lingered over this community for so long."