October 20th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Clark warrants remain sealed

Raymond Clark III seen exiting the New Haven Superior Court in September.
Raymond Clark III seen exiting the New Haven Superior Court in September. Photo by Sam Greenberg.

The family of Annie Le GRD ’13 has joined in the request to keep the documents related to case against her accused murderer, Raymond Clark III, sealed. Judge Roland Fasano will rule on this question in the next few weeks.

A hearing Tuesday in New Haven Superior Court, in which Clark entered no plea, focused on the documents, with the defense and prosecution both arguing against the several media organizations’ request to release the documents, which include an arrest warrant and search warrants. At the hearing, attorney Paul Guggina said the Associated Press, The New York Times and the New Haven Register had joined the Hartford Courant in petitioning to unseal the documents.

Speaking for the prosecution, attorney John Waddock argued for keeping the documents sealed.

“[Le’s family members] are deeply concerned that releasing any information about their loved one’s death will invade their privacy right,” Waddock said.

He added that releasing the information to the public would “make this difficult time much more difficult” for the family.

Defense attorney Beth Merkin said guarding this information from the public and the media will help to ensure “a fair and impartial jury, one that is not affected by any adverse pre-trial publicity.”

Merkin added that even if some of the documents were to be released, the search warrants would probably need to remain sealed.

Guginna, however, said releasing information to the public would not compromise the ability to have an impartial jury.

“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. He stressed that this is a First Amendment issue, and that trying to protect fair trial cannot override the First Amendment.

Clark sat in an orange jumpsuit staring straight ahead throughout the proceedings.

The next court date was set for Nov. 3, at which point a probable cause hearing could occur.