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Judge removes ban after prosecutors bolster charge

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  1. Prior Restraint
NEWS MEDIA UPDATE   ·   COLORADO   ·   Prior Restraints   ·   Aug. 4, 2006

NEWS MEDIA UPDATE   ·   COLORADO   ·   Prior Restraints   ·   Aug. 4, 2006


Judge removes ban after prosecutors bolster charge

  • A prior restraint on publication of the name of a 17-year-old murder suspect was lifted Friday by the same judge who ordered the gag.

Aug. 4, 2006  ·   A state district court judge removed a three-day-old prior restraint against a newspaper Friday after prosecutors announced they would try a 17-year-old murder suspect as an adult, according to a reporter who covered the court proceeding.

The gag was imposed Tuesday by Visiting District Judge Ruth Ann Polidori who had agreed with the boy’s public defense team that releasing his name and photograph would violate Colorado juvenile law.

Judge Polidori’s gag ordered The Pueblo Chieftain not to publish his name until it was determined whether he would be charged as an adult, according to the newspaper’s account. The boy’s name, Frank Montoya, which the paper obtained from what it reported were “reliable sources,” had already appeared in the paper’s Tuesday edition.

Patrick Malone, the Chieftain reporter who covered Friday’s proceeding, said the newspaper had never experienced a prior restraint in past cases involving juvenile defendants.

When prosecutors announced Friday that they would charge the alleged assailant as an adult, the issues involved became moot.
Montoya is charged with killing Barbara Alcon by allegedly firing a .45-caliber round into her head after an exchange of “unpleasant remarks” during which she challenged him to use it, according to the newspaper.

Judge Polidori based her original ruling on provisions in the Colorado Children’s Code that warn about the use of names. “His name and photograph should not appear in the newspaper,” Polidori said at the first hearing, according to the newspaper.

But the restraint no longer exists.

“In tomorrow’s paper we’ll have the name and photograph,” Malone said Friday.

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