Monday, February 25, 2008

Schierman Motions - Press Restrictions? Jail Duds?

Attorneys for Conner Schierman -- who is accused of killing four people and burning their house -- moved to have the case dismissed (because prosecutors hadn't provided discovery), to allow Mr. Schierman to way civilian clothes to pre-trial hearings, and to prohibit press photography in public courthouse spaces. Judge Gregory Canova denied the motions. Suspect in slayings of Kirkland family must wear jail uniform in court, Seattle P-I, Feb. 22, 2008; Judge won't restrict media in trial of man accused of killing Kirkland family, Seattle Times, Feb. 22, 2008.

The Seattle Times and several television stations opposed the motion to prohibit press photography. Under the Washington Courts' Bench Bar Press Statement of Principles

Law enforcement and court personnel should not prevent the photographing of defendants when they are in public places outside the courtroom. They should not encourage pictures or televising nor should they pose the defendant. The media should recognize that broadcasting, televising, recording and taking photographs in the courtroom is governed by GR 16. Artist's renditions sketched in the courtroom are not governed by GR 16 and should not be curtailed unless such actions unduly distract participants or impair the dignity of the proceedings.
King County Deputy Prosecutor Scott O'Toole is quoted in the Times article. He is also a UW Trial Ad instructor.

Photo of King County Courthouse from King County website.

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