By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Minutes prior to a preliminary hearing for multiple child abuse charges against State Del. Rick Morris in December, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Robert S. Brewbaker Jr. issued an order barring journalists, but not the members of the public, from the courtroom.

On Monday, following an appeal from newspapers, retired Judge Louis R. Lerner ruled that the order was procedurally incorrect, and that the transcripts from the hearing will be made available by the court reporter for purchase.

Lerner, specially appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court to hear the appeal, additionally ruled that distinguishing media from the public was erroneous, and that the two are “very well one in the same.”

A judge thus cannot prohibit one but not the other from a courtroom, according to Lerner at the media hearing Monday.

“It doesn’t work that way,” said Lerner. 

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