Judge dismisses lawsuit seeking Kurt Cobain’s death-scene photos

July 31, 2015

A Washington state judge on Friday (July 31) dismissed a lawsuit seeking photos from the death scene of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain because the journalist who wants them violated legal procedures, Seattle’s attorney said.

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Independent journalist Richard Lee sued the city and its police department to try to force the release of the pictures taken by law-enforcement officials after Cobain killed himself in 1994, a spokesman for Seattle attorney Pete Holmes said.

The photos show his entire body and the damage to his head from a shotgun blast, according to a declaration filed last week by Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, seeking to block the release.

Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle sided with the city after a roughly 40-minute hearing, ruling Lee violated legal procedures by failing to properly serve the city with his lawsuit, said the spokesman, John Schochet.

Last year police said they found rolls of undeveloped film while preparing for renewed media attention ahead of the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s suicide.

The city said Lee’s request for the graphic photos are exempt from public-records disclosure laws.

Love wrote in her declaration that she has never seen the photos.

“Certainly, public disclosure would reopen all my old wounds, and cause me and my family permanent, indeed, endless and needless, pain and suffering, and would be a gross violation of our privacy interests,” Love wrote.