Judge releases T.J. Lane's records: Accused shooter had prior assault charge
Geauga County Juvenile/Probate Court Judge Tim Grendell issued a ruling Wednesday making accused Chardon school shooter T.J. Lane’s delinquency records available to the news media.
Lane is accused of opening fire on five students in Monday's shooting at Chardon High School. Three of the students were killed and two other were injured.
According to the documents, Lane was charged with assault in December 2009 for punching another boy in the face and putting him in a choke hold.
Lane eventually pleaded true, the juvenile equivalent of guilty, to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct.
He was ordered to pay court costs and complete 24 hours of community service.
In September 2011, Lane was charged with failure to control a motor vehicle. He successfully completed a juvenile driving class, paid a fine and had his license suspended for 75 days.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nick Burling argued making the records public could attach a stigma to the suspect, affecting Lane’s changes to rehabilitate, if he is ultimately found guilty.
However, defense attorney Robert Farinacci withdrew his previous objection to making the delinquency records public. Farinacci said with so much information — and misinformation — already out, the documents should set the record straight. The judge agreed.
“This may address some rumors the court has heard out and about on the streets,” Grendell said.
Additionally, Grendell ruled that because of the prominence of the case, the media is permitted to take photos of Lane at his next court appearance Tuesday afternoon.
Immediately before that hearing, the court will hold a short session to determine whether to make public any Job and Family Services cases pertaining to Lane.
Those cases involve any history of abuse, neglect or other domestic issues and are separate from delinquency cases.
“At the end of the day, none of us want to create an environment that could affect the fairness of the proceedings on this matter in this court,” Grendell said.
The judge is also expected to rule on the potential release of court records for the five shooting victims at the same Tuesday hearing.