Attorneys argue to unseal documents in Levi Chavez case

Posted at: 05/15/2013 1:02 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Wednesday, attorneys for media outlets including KOB Eyewitness News 4 were in court for the Levi Chavez case, asking the judge to unseal several pretrial motion documents that had been closed to the public since April.

An attorney representing the Albuquerque Journal, KOAT and the Associated Press argued that the document sealings were unjustified, unsupported and out of line with Supreme Court rulings.

But Chavez's attorney fired back- saying he not only wanted those files to remain sealed, he suggested future hearings be closed to the public, excepting victim Tera Chavez's family.

He claimed local media have already reported details from pretrial hearings that would have never made it into trial and are on the way to tainting more potential jurors.

"There have been grossly biased characterizations of the defendant," attorney David Serna said, "And there has been biased emotional and prejudicial coverage by the media."

The judge says he will not close future hearings at this time, like Chavez's attorney suggested, but he isn't unsealing all the motions yet either.

He'll make that decision after he and attorneys look through jury questionnaires and determine to what extent potential jurors may have been influenced, and how future media coverage could play a role.

A decision is expected next Wednesday.