A San Diego judge issued 2-ruilings Friday in the case involving the Tucson shooting rampage. The hearing dealt with photos of the suspect, Jared Loughner, and addressed the request of releasing information of what was found during a search of his home. KUSI's Ed Lenderman was at the hearing and reports on the latest details.
Federal prosecutors and Loughner's defense attorneys agree on one thing, they don't want the photos or the search warrants released.
Jared Loughner wasn't in court, he remains in federal custody in Arizona but his attorneys were led by Judy Clark, a lawyer known as a strong advocate for her clients. Overseeing the case against Loughner is San Diego Federal Judge, Larry Burns. He was appointed after all the federal judges in Arizona recused themselves because one of their colleagues, U.S. District Judge John Roll was among the six people killed in the shooting rampage.
Attorneys for the Arizona media had two requests for Judge Burns Friday, order the release of two mug shots of burns taken by U.S. Marshals and order records of what was found in his home made public as well.
The mug shot of Loughner with which we are all so familiar was taken by the Pima County Sheriff's Office but there are two other pictures of him taken by the U.S. Marshals after Loughner was booked into federal custody.
Loughner's defense team says the release of the additional pictures would be tantamount to trying Loughner in the media. They also opposed the release of the search warrants. The U.S. attorney in Arizona, who was on a telephone line for the hearing, joined in both objections.
First of all, Judge Burns indicated he didn't think the mug shots were a big deal, saying they were tamer than the one already released but, he declined to rule either way, citing a precedent setting ruling by a 6th District Court in the Midwest. In a prior case, the court ordered such a release under the Freedom of Information Act. Judge Burns said he had no authority to contravene that order.
On the second issue, he said he was inclined to order the release of the search warrants until he was told Friday that the federal investigation into the rampage is still ongoing and that a superceding indictment against Loughner is expected by March 9th. He indicated he would hold the government to that date and would likely order the release of the documents on or about then.
David Bodney is the attorney for the Arizona media and after the judges ruling he said "I think his rulings were understandable based on information that was new today and not what our reporters had been told, namely that there is still an ongoing investigation," and Bodney indicated that on March 9th, he'd be back before the Judge.
Clarification on what happens now with the mug shots was harder to come by. But it appears that media outlets in the Midwest, the 6th District includes Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio, have a right to them and that the U.S. Marshall must turn them over which means they'll be released nationwide.
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