Some court documents in the case of Raymond Clark III, who is charged with the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13, will be unsealed Thursday, a judge ruled today.
The documents will include most of the search and arrest warrant affidavits, which contain the evidence supporting Clark’s arrest. Certain material that the judge considers inflammatory, unfairly prejudicial or invasive of privacy will be redacted.
When released, the documents will reveal the fullest account to date of the investigation leading to Clark’s arrest and the evidence against him.
The ruling follows a motion led by the Hartford Courant, and subsequently joined by other news organizations, to unseal the documents, which have been withheld from the public since Clark’s arrest on Sept. 17.
Clark’s defense attorneys, as well as the state prosecutors, have argued that keeping the documents secret would help ensure a fair trial and respect the Le family’s privacy. The Courant’s lawyer, Paul Guggina, countered that releasing the documents would not compromise a future jury since so much information about the case has already been publicized.
In his ruling today, New Haven Superior Court Judge Roland Fasano nodded to both sides. While he said Clark’s right to a fair trial takes precedent, the bulk of the information in the documents would not jeopardize that if released.
“Clearly a blanket sealing of the affidavits, under the circumstances here, would not be appropriate,” he wrote. “However, there are limited portions of the arrest and search warrant affidavits that support a finding of an overriding interest in non-disclosure.”
Those portions can be removed without compromising the remainder of the documents, he added. The justifications for each redaction will be specified under seal, he said, but not publicized because doing so would effectively release the information in question.
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.