JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An attorney for the woman charged with murder in the case of a Nassau County mother filed a motion to block evidence, according to documents.
Kimberly Kessler was indicted on a murder charge in the death of Joleen Cummings, her coworker. The body of the mother of three has not been located, and she was last seen May 12.
Kessler’s lawyer is seeking to block evidence from the public. On October 22, the attorney filed a document titled “Objection to release of discovery materials”.
In the document, Kessler’s lawyer writes:
The prejudicial nature of the evidence would in dissemination deny defendant her right to a fair trial as guaranteed by the Florida and United States constitutions.
The motion specifically lists the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports, which includes forensic evidence found at Tangles Hair Salon, where Kessler and Cummings worked.
“Just because a case is well known, doesn’t mean that the jury can’t be fair," Jacksonville attorney Ed Birk said.
Birk said the court has to find a balance between Kessler’s right to a fair trial, and the public’s right to information.
“The court’s job is to balance the sixth amendment right to a fair trial against the first amendment right of the public to know what is going on in its courts, Birk said. "It is not an all or nothing thing.
"The judge has to take a very close look at what the evidence and discovery materials are, and decide that if they are released, would they make it ... an impartial jury."
There will be an hearing on the motion at a later date. Kessler remains in the Duval County Jail.
On October 11, the State Attorney’s Office filed new evidence in the case. The summary includes witnesses statements, phone records of both Kessler and Cumming, and forensic evidence from the Tangles Hair Salon.
News4Jax has requested all of the discovery material that has been presented to the defense.