The Judd family has reportedly filed a notice to voluntarily dismiss their legal efforts to prevent law enforcement records related to Naomi Judd’s death investigation from emerging into the public eye. It's now waiting on a judge’s approval.
Naomi’s family filed a petition in a Middle Tennessee court earlier this year. The filing stated in it that releasing details of the beloved country artist’s death — including video and audio recordings — would cause the family “significant trauma and irreparable harm,” the Williamson County Chancery Court stated, per a report from the Associated Press on Monday (December 5). The AP notes that the Judd family’s recent move to dismiss the lawsuit comes because journalists are not requesting photographs or body camera footage that show Naomi or the home. The Judd family is also opting to withdraw the petition because a Tennessee official aims to introduce a bill to make records in a death investigation — when the death did not happen because of a crime — private, the report states.
Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd confirmed on April 30 that they “lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.” Naomi died one day before The Judds — the mother-daughter country duo made up of Naomi and Wynonna — were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She was 76.
Ashley confirmed in an interview earlier this year that her mother died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Later in the year, the autopsy report, a public record in Tennessee, confirmed the tragic cause of death. In August, Ashley wrote a guest op-ed in the New York Times, calling for legal changes to keep sensitive details in death investigations from being made public.
“We have asked the court to not release these documents not because we have secrets. We have always been an uncannily open family, which explains part of the public’s love for my mother,” Ashley wrote at the time, in part. “Folks identified with her honesty about her mistakes, admired her for her ability to survive hardship and delighted in her improbable stardom. We ask because privacy in death is a death with more dignity. And for those left behind, privacy avoids heaping further harm upon a family that is already permanently and painfully altered.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide or is in emotional distress, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.