Judge denies Wesley Brownlee’s request for a gag order

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A judge on Tuesday denied a pretrial gag request for Wesley Brownlee, the man accused in the Stockton serial killings. Brownlee is currently charged with three of the six murders, which police believe are connected. Five of them were in Stockton and the other in Oakland. A woman survived one of six attacks in Stockton. The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office says new charges are expected in connection with three other murders, including one in Oakland, and an attempted murder in Stockton involving a woman. in the earliest stages, the trial was a year or more away. We are also in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, and it is very likely that this case will not generate the amount of coverage it currently generates,” Judge Shapuri Vilapudua told the court on Tuesday. “At this point, the court cannot find a reasonable the likelihood that negative press will prevent Mr. Brownlee from getting a fair trial and forming a fair and impartial jury.”| VIDEO BELOW | Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln talks about what the city has been through with the serial murders. Brownlee’s legal team filed a motion Monday with seeking a protective order against the pretrial announcement, also known as a gag Public defender Alison Nobert argued in court that comments made to the media and the public at recent news conferences held by the Stockton Police Department and the San Joaquin County District Attorney violated her client’s rights for a fair trial She argued that law enforcement found Brownlee guilty of serial killing oistvokh even before his trial began. “I’m not asking to keep the media out of the courtroom,” Nobert told the judge. “I am asking that people like Ms. Tori Werber, Salazar’s supervisor, Stanley McFadden, be prohibited from spreading information outside of this courtroom that cannot withstand the scrutiny that your honor must conduct.” | RELATED | Stockton serial killings: Everything we know now about suspect Wesley Brownlee. The defendant’s legal team is also concerned about finding a jury that is fair and impartial as media coverage of the case has now gone global. The prosecutor disagrees with the request for a gag order. Deputy District Attorney Alton Grau maintained that all statements made by Stockton police and the district attorney were factual and based on the findings of the investigation. “The press conferences were just basically a recitation of the facts of what happened and his arrest,” Grau told the judge. He also said the order will prevent law enforcement from continuing to investigate the case, talk to witnesses and continue to gather tips and information from the public.| RELATED | Who are the victims of the Stockton serial killings? He said states like Texas, Arizona, Illinois and Florida have approached the district attorney’s office about similar cases, and he said investigators should be able to talk to them. “My ruling in no way condones some of the inflammatory statements made in the press, and I would urge the parties to keep that issue in mind when speaking to the press going forward,” the judge said Tuesday, denying the gag request. KCRA 3 spoke with law professor Michael Vitiello of the McGeorge School of Law. He said it’s pretty rare to get a gag order, and he said finding a fair jury is possible. “It’s going to be a long process, but what happens is you find enough people eventually who can say, ‘Yes, I’m going to be fair and impartial despite what I’ve heard in the media.’

A judge on Tuesday denied a pretrial motion to gag Wesley Brownlee, the man accused in the Stockton serial killings.

Brownlee is currently charged in three of the six murders, which police believe are connected. Five of them were in Stockton and the other in Oakland. A woman survived one of six attacks in Stockton.

The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office says additional charges are expected in connection with three other murders, including one in Oakland, and an attempted murder in Stockton involving a woman.

“We’re at a very early stage, with a year or more to trial. We are also in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, and it is very likely that this case will not receive the same coverage as it does now,” the judge said. Hapuri Vilapudua said in court on Tuesday. “At this time, the court cannot find a reasonable likelihood that negative press will prevent Mr. Brownlee from receiving a fair trial and from forming a fair and impartial jury.”

| VIDEO BELOW | Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln talks about what the city has been through with the serial murders

Brownlee’s legal team filed a motion with the court on Monday asking for a protective order against the pretrial publicity, also known as a gag order.

Public defender Alison Nobert argued in court that comments made by the media and the public at recent news conferences held by the Stockton Police Department and the San Joaquin County District Attorney prejudiced her client’s right to a fair trial.

She argued that law enforcement found Brownlee guilty of the serial murders before he even went to trial.

“I’m not asking to keep the media out of the courtroom,” Nobert told the judge. “I am asking that people like Miss Tori Verber Salazar be kept out [and] Chief Stanley McFadden from disseminating information outside of this courtroom that cannot withstand the scrutiny your honor must do.”

| RELATED | Stockton serial killings: Everything we know now about suspect Wesley Brownlee


The defendant’s legal team is also concerned about finding a jury that is fair and impartial as media coverage of the case has now become global.

The prosecutor disagrees with the motion to gag.

Deputy District Attorney Alton Grau maintained that all statements made by Stockton police and the district attorney were factual and based on the findings of the investigation.

“The press conferences were just basically a recitation of the facts of what happened and his arrest,” Grau told the judge.

He also said the order would prevent law enforcement from continuing to investigate the case, talking to witnesses and continuing to gather tips and information from the public.

| RELATED | Who are the victims of the Stockton serial killings?

He said states like Texas, Arizona, Illinois and Florida have approached the district attorney’s office about similar cases, and he said investigators should be able to talk to them.

“My ruling in no way condones some of the inflammatory statements made in the press, and I would encourage the parties to keep that issue in mind when speaking to the press going forward,” the judge said Tuesday, denying the gag request.

KCRA 3 spoke with law professor Michael Vitiello at the McGeorge School of Law.

He said it’s rare to get a gag order, and he said finding a fair jury is possible.

“It’s going to be a long process, but eventually you’ll find enough people who can say, ‘Yes, I’m going to be fair and impartial despite what I’ve heard in the media.’

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