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Local media fight move to seal records in federal agent's shooting case

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 06:28 p.m. HST, May 21, 2012

 Dennis oda / doda@staradvertiser.com @Caption1:The McDonald's restaurant on Kuhio Avenue remained closed Saturday after an early-morning fatal shooting. The suspect, a  27-year-old federal agent, is in custody.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is asking a state judge for permission to oppose a request by city prosecutors that would keep sealed court documents and surveillance videotapes of a fatal shooting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

In its request filed today, the newspaper said it should be allowed to intervene in the case to protect "the public's right of access to courthouse records in this case of critical importance to the community."

Hawaii News Now, the Star-Advertiser's TV-news partner, and the online news site Hawaii Reporter have joined the newspaper in its request.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn scheduled a hearing on the request for Tuesday.

Christopher Deedy, who was here to provide security for leaders of APEC, is charged with murdering Kollin Elderts in the early morning shooting Nov. 5 at a McDonald's restaurant in Waikiki. 

His lawyers filed a request last week to dismiss the charge and filed supporting exhibits that include McDonald's surveillance tapes.

City prosecutors want the documents and exhibits to be kept confidential.  

They argue in their sealing motion that the news coverage of the defense filings could taint potential jurors and harm the trial proceedings.

Ahn is scheduled to hear on Thursday the prosecution's request to seal the defense documents and exhibits.  The hearing on the dismissal is scheduled for July.

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HealthyandHappy wrote:
We need an open and transparent judicial process.
on May 21,2012 | 01:15PM
hokumakakilo wrote:
Why does the media have to have access now? Why can't they wait until it goes to trial or plea bargain is accepted? That is when those things are normally released and become public record. I don't like it when cases are "tried" in the media before trials even begin. That makes it harder for a fair trial, and opens the door to appeals of convictions. The media only wants access now so they can get readers or viewers and make a case into a media circus like the Trayvon Martin case. That is not fair to either the victim, the victim's family, or defendant! I feel the same way about releasing 911 tapes prior to trial. In the case of the freeway shooter here all it did was make the victims and their families relive the trauma, and make witnesses feel uncomfortable-and that trial hasn't even started yet either.
on May 21,2012 | 07:07PM
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