On November 23, 2022, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen sought a Court Order to prevent the unprecedented public commentary by James Montagnino, Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner, and Ronald Kim, Mayor of Saratoga Springs, regarding a criminal investigation concerning shots fired in the early morning hours of November 20, 2022 on Broadway in the City of Saratoga Springs.  During said conference, both parties openly divulged sensitive information and offered unsupported and unverified speculation as to the events.

Despite their actions, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office gathered evidence and presented the facts to a Saratoga County Grand Jury who issued criminal indictments for the conduct of those involved in late March 2023.

On the evening of August 10, 2023, Heggen received the Court’s Decision and Order denying her original request. 

“Judge Freestone’s decision thoroughly reviews the factual and procedural history of the actions by the parties surrounding the November 20, 2022 shooting,” said Heggen.  “Although Judge Freestone has ultimately denied my request, the Court has nonetheless acknowledged that the actions of Montagnino and Kim placed me in a position from which I needed to ‘commence such a unique proceeding’ and to ‘seek such remarkable and unique relief.’”

The Court concluded:

“[I]n the midst of the earliest stages of an active police investigation into the November 20, 2022 Incident and despite clear requests from both the Petitioner and the investigatory law enforcement agencies for both time and patience to allow all the facts of the Incident and investigation to be developed the Respondents nevertheless called an immediate press conference which resulted in the release of video evidence of the Incident and that subsequently revealed the identities of parties (both civilian and law enforcement) regardless of their level of involvement of the November 20, 2022 Incident.  It is well said that ‘discretion is the better part of valor’ and it bears repeating to the Respondents of the importance of being factual over first.” (emphasis added)

Heggen noted, “The actions of the Respondents to hastily disseminate what they perceived as ‘information’ regarding an on-going criminal investigation were unprecedented, which is why I took such significant actions to preserve the integrity of the criminal investigation and any subsequent criminal charges. Once the grand jury issued indictments regarding criminal conduct of those involved, the relief sought in my Petition was moot.  The Court in this case reminds us all that our duty is to ensure the safety and protection of those we serve, while at the same time protecting the rights of victims and those accused of criminal wrongdoing.”