KY Press Assn Inc v. Comwlth of KY
Jurisdiction: Ripeness re: First Amendment access to state juvenile proceedings
Eastern District of Kentucky at Frankfort
ALICE M. BATCHELDER, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff-Appellant Kentucky Press Association (“KPA”), a non-profit corporation whose members include newspapers throughout Kentucky, appeals the dismissal for failure to state a claim of its suit against Defendants-Appellants the Commonwealth of Kentucky and various Kentucky court officials (collectively, “the Commonwealth”), claiming violation of KPA’s First Amendment right of access to court proceedings. Specifically, KPA makes a facial challenge to four Kentucky statutory provisions, claiming that they deny the media any access to Kentucky’s juvenile court proceedings and records pertinent thereto. The district court rejected the Commonwealth’s jurisdictional, abstention, and sovereign immunity arguments, but held that KPA’s complaint did not state a claim for a First Amendment right of access to juvenile records and proceedings. Because KPA has not challenged the relevant statutes in the Kentucky courts, which could well render an interpretation of these statutes that provides for the access that KPA seeks and thus avoids the constitutional issue presented in this case, we will dismiss the appeal for failure to present a case or controversy sufficiently ripe for adjudication, and remand this case to the district court with instructions that it be dismissed on that ground.