|05-24-2009, 11:56 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Apr 2001
Kush & Irsay
Judge bans blogging, cameras from Darrent Williams murder trial
DENVER - A Denver judge has decided to place a number of unusual restrictions on reporters covering this summer's Willie Clark murder trial. Clark is accused of first-degree murder in the death of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams.
Clark is set to stand trial starting in early July. His trial will be closely watched by media outlets all over Colorado.
This week, Denver District Court Judge Christina Habas issued a decorum order on the case which, in essence, tells reporters what they will and what they will not be allowed to do when they cover the trial.
Among other things, Judge Habas has decided to bar reporters from texting, blogging or e-mailing inside of her courtroom while the trial is taking place. The practice had become quite commonplace ever since the closely-watched federal trial of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio in 2007.
"There is a significant risk that those communications would be utilized in order to place witnesses, parties, attorneys, jurors or Court staff in physical jeopardy," wrote Judge Habas.
Judge Habas has also decided to bar cameras from her courtroom during the course of the trial. While that decision is certainly not unusual, as that issue is routinely left up to the individual judge and is not subject to additional legal review in the state of Colorado, her antidote appears to be a little outside of the norm. In her ruling, Judge Habas has decided to only allow an audio recording of the proceedings.
"In the Courts view," wrote Judge Habas, "this microphone serves a legitimate purpose of allowing contemporaneous reporting to the public of the proceedings in the Courtroom, with little or no potential of creating a dangerous situation to any witness, juror or staff."
In her decision to bar cameras as well as the use of other electronic devices, Judge Habas wrote "the significant potential that these proceedings will be unfairly sensationalized, and that inaccurate information will be provided to members of the public, thus increasing the risk of interference in a fair trial, justifies restrictions on those devices during these proceedings."
In addition, Judge Habas barred any interviews from taking place in the fourth floor hallway of the Denver City and County Building during business hours. In her ruling, Judge Habas cited security concerns raised by the Denver Sheriff's Department.
Cutbacks might be to blame here. One Captain with the Denver Sheriff's Department, according to Judge Habas, "indicated that there have been recent cutbacks in the Sheriff's Department, which may directly impact the number of Sheriff's Deputies available and assigned to general security on the fourth floor."
It's unclear if those cutbacks are having any impact on current security procedures inside the City and County Building.
Judge Habas will allow two rows in her courtroom to be "available on a first-come, first-serve basis" for the use of members of the press, and has also decided to permit interviews inside the nearby City Council Chambers.
(Copyright KUSA*TV, All Rights Reserved)
|05-24-2009, 07:15 PM||#4|
helmet to helmet hitter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Arlington, TX
Good decisions...I'd hate to see someone else killed or threatened because some idiot on Twitter exposes sensitive information to gang bangers.