A state judge said Tuesday that he expects to rule by Friday on whether to unseal court documents in the case of Raymond Clark III, who has been charged with the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13.
Clark, 24, was not present at Tuesday’s four-minute hearing in the New Haven Judicial District Court, and has yet to enter a plea. In his stead, defense attorney Joseph Lopez asked New Haven Superior Court Judge Roland Fasano for more time to request a probable cause hearing, at which the judge would decide whether the prosecution has enough evidence to proceed to trial. Lopez said Clark is waiting to see more of the evidence against him.
“The evidence is coming, but trickling in slowly,” Lopez told the judge at the hearing.
At the hearing, state prosecutors asked that the affidavits remain sealed for at least another two weeks. On Oct. 20, four news organizations, led by the Hartford Courant, requested that the documents be released. The attorney for the Hartford Courant, Paul Guggina, was also not in court Tuesday.
Fasano decided to give Clark an indefinite amount of time to choose whether to pursue the probable cause hearing, even though such hearings normally occur within 60 days of an individual’s arrest.
Lopez told the News last month that the choice to participate in a probable cause hearing is a strategic decision.
If Clark requests the hearing and then loses, his trial will continue and he will be expected to plead.
At an Oct. 20 hearing, when Clark was present, state prosecutor John Waddock said Le’s family was concerned that releasing any information about her death would invade the family’s privacy. At the time, Merkin said that keeping the information in the documents secret would help to ensure “a fair and impartial jury, one that is not affected by any adverse pre-trial publicity.”
Guggina countered at the time that releasing the information to the public would not compromise a future jury since so much information about the case has already been publicized.
“It does a disservice to the jury process to suggest that it would be impossible [for a juror who follows cases in the newspaper] to be objective about a case,” he said.
After Le’s body was found hidden behind a wall in the basement of the Yale research building at 10 Amistad St., Clark, a Yale animal lab technician, was arrested on Sept. 17 and charged with her murder. He is being held at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn., on $3 million bond.
Clark is due back in court Dec. 21.