There's more interesting news in the 1/4/12 Ogden City Shootings matter, with a couple of new items appearing in the Standard-Examiner since our last WCF update.
Here are the key paragraphs from an online story of yesterday afternoon, which reveals that the veil of secrecy continues concerning this case:
OGDEN -- Prosecutors have sealed at least three warrants tied to the Matthew Stewart shooting case.The Standard also carries an expanded version of this story in its morning print edition, which reveals some even more interesting details to this story:
Search warrants are, by law, sealed for 20 days, then become public unless prosecutors convince a judge to extend the seal without date, said Nancy Volmer, state courts spokeswoman.
The Weber County Attorney's Office was successful in having some of the warrants sealed even before the 20 days had expired, Volmer said, two last week and one Tuesday.
1) It reports a total of four warrants have so far been issued (and sealed), including "a fourth search warrant" issued by 2nd District Judge Scott Hadley on Monday last. Mr. Gurrister's story also provides information on the earlier three:
- Warrant issued Jan. 4 by Judge Ernie Jones, sealed Jan. 6 by Judge Mark DeCaria.
- Warrant issued Jan. 5 by Hadley, sealed Jan. 6 by DeCaria.
- Warrant issued Jan. 5 by DeCaria, sealed Friday by DeCaria.
Moreover it seems that an extraordinary amount of effort is still being expended by the court and prosecutors in a curious effort to conceal the identity of the prosecution's confidential informant, whose true identity seems to have been already publicly revealed, thus raising the pregnant question, what else are these political hacks trying to hide?
Hopefully, in this context, the Utah print media will dig in their heels, take the sealing of these records up on appeal, and help shine a little light on the evidence which triggered the issuance of these warrants in the first place.
2) And Mr. Gurrister's expanded story reveals this interesting tidbit:
The Rule 8 fund maintained by the state through premiums paid by various participating counties provides a $100,000 lump sum for capital homicide defenses, Richards said.Up until now, we'd assumed that public's expense for fees and costs for Mr. Stewart's public defender defense would be capped at the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 8's $100,000 per case; but with this morning's Tim Gurrister revelation on that angle, it looks like all bets are off on the question of how much taxpayer dough it will ultimately take to properly defend this case.
Davis and Box Elder counties subscribe to the fund, but Weber does not, he said, meaning he will have to negotiate with Weber officials for funds to supplement his client’s defense.
It's a highly complicated case however, which will pretty quickly gobble up massive defense costs for investigators, expert witnesses and pretrial discovery, not to mention the thousands of billable hours which will inexorably accrue for attorney's fees. So at this early point folks, regarding the prospective price of Matthew Stewart's defense, we'll go out on a limb and predict that "the sky's the limit," folks.
In this connection, Don't forget the SE story we cited in our earlier WCF writeup, quoting Bernie the Attorney Allen, who said that a first class criminal defense will cost, as a rule of thumb, "close to a million dollars for each case."
Here's the big question we think: Will the defendant Stewart get even an adequate legal defense in this matter, let alone a "first class" defense?
Update 1/25/12 10:00 a.m.: The Standard has just now uploaded Mr. Gurrister's updated morning story to its website: