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Defense attorneys don’t want television cameras in court at murder trial

WALSENBURG — Defense attorneys for accused murderer Ralph Candelario of Walsenburg have filed an objection to the latest request for expanded media coverage of his upcoming October 2015 trial. Leslie Neigher, an associate producer for CBS News/ 48 Hours, filed a request on June 26 with the Third Judicial Court seeking full audio and video coverage of the October 13, 2015 trial. In the request, Neigher said, “ At least one CBS News/”48 Hours” producer will be present at trial with at least one other crew member and agreed upon number of cameras. Should the request for coverage of the entire trial be denied, we respectfully submit a secondary, reduced pool request for coverage of the opening statements, closing argument, verdict and dependent upon the verdict, sentencing proceedings if applicable.” In a letter to Judge Claude Appel, Lindsey Gutterman of the CBS news magazine, “48 Hours,” said, “Our cameras are small and can be placed in very discreet locations that can be wired into another room outside of the main courtroom.” Gutterman also said in the late June letter that “48 Hours” has covered trials in Colorado in the past, and in fact have covered trials involving special prosecutors Ryan Brackley and Matthew Durkin, who are prosecuting the Candelario case. She said in the past CBS has used small remote control cameras to cover trials in Colorado and ensures cameras are turned towards the ceiling of the courtroom when jurors are being seated or leaving for

breaks, lunch and at the end of the day to prevent their faces from being shown. Dariel Weaver, one of the two deputy state public defenders advocating for the defendant, filed an objection to the expanded media request on Monday, July 6, “A number of requests for expanded media coverage have been made by various organizations at various stages of the case; this court has denied them all.” Citing the appropriate judicial canons concerning expanded media coverage, Weaver asked the court to consider three major factors; whether there is a reasonable likelihood that expanded media coverage would interfere with the rights of a fair trial, whether there is a likelihood that expanded coverage would unduly detract from the solemnity, decorum and dignity of the court, and, whether expanded coverage would create adverse effects that would be greater than those caused by traditional media coverage. Weaver said in her objection, “In particular in this case, the defense anticipates a number of witnesses who will testify about the fact that two other men – naming names – are responsible for this murder. The defense has great concern that the presence of cameras in the courtroom, even discreet ones, will deter these witnesses from testifying truthfully – or from testifying at all – for fear that they will be labeled ‘snitches’ and be hurt or even killed for their testimony.” Weaver said denial of the request would not prejudice the media’s ability to cover the case. Weaver noted when advised of this upcoming CBS News request at the June 22 motions hearing, the prosecution stated it had no position on the issue. Other motions filed On June 29 the state filed an offer of proof in support of their motion to introduce res gestae evidence in the upcoming trial. The definition of res gestae [Latin, Things done.] evidence: Secondhand statements considered trustworthy for the purpose of admission as evidence in a lawsuit when repeated by a witness because they were made spontaneously and concurrently with an event. Res gestae describes a common-law doctrine governing testimony. Under the Hearsay rule, a court normally refuses to admit as evidence statements that a witness says he or she heard another person say. The doctrine of res gestae provided an exception to this rule. On July 6 the defense filed their response and renewed objection to the prosecution’s res gestae motion. Judge Appel has not ruled on the motions yet and the next scheduled motions hearing in the case is set for 1 pm Thursday, August 13, 2015.