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Greg Hardy Trial Gets Underway

The trial proceedings of Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy begins today. Hardy is appealing a ruling last year in which a judge found him guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. His jury trial marks the first time local court officials will make select documents involving a case available on line.

Currently, anyone wanting to see documents related to a trial in Mecklenburg County must go to the courthouse to view them. That will change with the Hardy trial. The newly-elected Clerk of Court decided to place some documents associated with the case online. Court officials say the online posting is a pilot initiative, conceived as a way to respond to the numerous media requests they receive for documents in high-profile trials, such as Hardy’s.

But some attorneys are concerned that placing select documents on line could possibly make public evidence not admissible in court, expose private information of those involved in a trial, such as addresses and social security numbers or prejudice potential jurors. Charlotte criminal defense attorney Mark Foster shares those concerns.

“It’s hard enough to pick juries these days in high profile cases where they are being covered intensely by the media,” Foster said. “If a certain case such as the Hardy case coming up is one that anybody in the public can get access to court documents and learn more about the case and then they walk in for jury selection, they’ll probably be disqualified as a juror if they’ve already formed opinions about the case.” 

But court officials say they are being sensitive to what they place on line and so far only two documents  have been cleared for posting in the Hardy trial—the notice he received acknowledging his appeal and the judgment suspending his July misdemeanor sentencing. They say other documents may be posted during Hardy’s trial that the media shows interest in, but none will contain personal information, photos or 911 calls.

A 911 call made by Hardy and released publicly received a lot attention, in which Hardy said his former girlfriend, Nicole Holder, was attacking him and refusing to leave his apartment. Holder alleged that Hardy threw her in a bathtub, dragged her by her hair into another room and threw her on a futon covered with guns.

Jury selection in the highly-publicized trial begins Monday.