Roane Judge Backs Away From Media Gag Order

Trial revolves around a Reedy man accused of throwing girlfriend off bridge

By Zac Taylor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Roane County judge on Friday repealed portions of a gag order he issued earlier this week that barred media outlets from reporting about the criminal background of a man accused of throwing his girlfriend off a bridge.

After questions from the Gazette-Mail, West Virginia Supreme Court officials discussed the constitutionality of the order with Circuit Judge David W. Nibert, said Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury.

Nibert issued the order Thursday in the case of Michael J. Smith, 30. The order barred reporters from disclosing that Smith was on home confinement the day he allegedly attacked his girlfriend.

Canterbury said Friday that after officials brought the problem to Nibert's attention Thursday, the judge agreed that the order might have been overly broad and said he would issue an amended order that removed any restrictions for the media ...

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