Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Judge sides with Merc over sealed document

A judge has granted a request by the Mercury News to unseal two arrest affidavits in the murder of a Cambodian woman in San Jose, over the objections of both prosecutors and the defense, the newspaper reported today. But Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Jean High Wetenkamp said he would keep the documents secret until at least Friday in order to allow for an appeal. The defense didn't want the affidavits released, saying it feared that "inflammatory" statements made by the defendants would make it impossible to find jurors who would have an unbiased view of the case. The legal skirmish involves a potential death-penalty case against two transients, Julio Jovel, 30, and Luis Alvarado, 18, who are accused of snatching Sany San, 46, from a street July 22, raping and stabbing her to death. The Merc's attorney, First Amendment specialist James Chadwick, said after the hearing that the newspaper brought the motion "because it's important for people to know what's going on" in the courts.

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