Lawyers for accused cop killer Luis Bracamontes are trying yet again to close from public view a court hearing involving their client, but a lawyer for The Sacramento Bee is opposing the move, saying there is no “adequate justification” to bar the media and public from the courtroom.
At issue is a hearing scheduled to start Monday before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White to decide whether the case should be moved out of Sacramento because of the massive amount of publicity it has received following the October 2014 slayings of Deputies Danny Oliver and Michael Davis Jr.
Bracamontes’ public defenders, Norm Dawson and Jeffrey Barbour, have asked White to close the hearing because further coverage of the hearing will generate additional publicity about their client, who has at various times blurted out in court that he killed the deputies, that he wants to plead guilty, that he wants to be executed and that he was so angry at his lawyers he wanted to kill them, as well. (His lawyers also are asking for permission to enter a not guilty by reason of insanity plea).
The public defenders have tried three previous times to have court hearings involving their client closed, but White has rejected those efforts.
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Bee attorney Stephen Burns is filing a motion Wednesday urging the judge to continue that pattern, arguing there is no evidence that Bracamontes cannot receive a fair trial because of publicity.
“In a county of well over a million people, (Bracamontes) will get a fair trial without the drastic step of closure,” Burns wrote.