Thursday, October 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bob Dunning: Judge’s prudent ruling ensures access

BobDunning2W

By
From page A2 | September 03, 2013 |

While I hesitate to term anything as “good news” in the murder case against Davis teenager Daniel William Marsh, I was heartened by Judge Tim Fall’s ruling that the Sept. 13 preliminary hearing for Marsh will be open to the public and the press.
I don’t blame Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson for trying to have the hearing closed. He’s been dealt a tough hand here and is doing what he can on behalf of his client.
According to Brett Johnson’s piece in last Friday’s Enterprise, on Aug. 9 Johnson filed a motion to close the preliminary hearing by arguing that “the information disseminated would be detrimental to a fair trial and would increase the sensational nature of the case.”
The sensational nature of the case can’t really be helped at this point. It’s hard to take back a brutal, vicious murder, whether committed by Marsh or by someone else. Closing the hearing will not change any of that.
Noted Brett Johnson in his piece: “Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall, who is presiding over the case involving the murders of Oliver ‘Chip’ Northup and Claudia Maupin, rejected the attempt to restrict the media and public from the preliminary hearing.”
There are several reasons why this decision is exactly as it should be, but none of them bear on the guilt or innocence of Daniel William Marsh, whose fate eventually will be decided by a jury.
To begin with, it’s never a good idea to mess with the First Amendment. The more judicial proceedings that are open, the better. The public’s right to know, especially in a case such as this, is a strong trump card to arguments to the contrary. The reasons simply aren’t there to exclude the press.
Additionally, it’s always a good idea for the public to know what’s going on inside a courtroom, where the proceedings are being carried out in the name of the people. When hearings are closed, no one can keep an eye on what’s happening inside the courtroom to be certain the aims of justice are being served.
Finally, if I were the defendant in a case like this and was factually innocent of the crime, I’d want every detail to be known so those who may have information leading to my innocence could come forward to help my defense. If a hearing is closed, the chance of such information emerging is substantially diminished.
Marsh, 15 at the time of the murders for which he is charged, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder with enhancements for the use of a knife as well as four special circumstances alleging multiple murders, heinous and depraved murder, lying in wait and torture.
Horrific charges, to be sure, the details of which will come out one way or another. Keeping those details from the public may make things more pleasant for all us, but there’s simply no legal reason to do so.
Johnson, the defense attorney, noted in his motion to the court that if the public were to learn of these details that have yet to be released, “it would be unlikely to be forgotten by the time of the actual trial.”
That may be true, but Judge Fall rightly noted that these concerns can be fully explored during jury selection and that even if these details do come out, Marsh’s right to a fair trial will not have been compromised.
It remains to be seen exactly what this evidence is that the public defender wishes us not to know, but suffice it to say, it will only add to the horror.
Still, that does not mean that Daniel Marsh is responsible for any of this horror or that a jury cannot separate these horrendous acts from his guilt or innocence.
Judge Fall put all these arguments on the scales of justice and rendered a prudent decision to assure us all that we will know fully what is happening in our name as the wheels of justice turn in this incredibly disturbing case.

— Reach Bob Dunning at bdunning@davisenterprise.net

Comments

comments

.

News

 
Pioneer students meet K-9 Officer Dexter

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Versatile cycling contributor Casale Jr. heads to Hall of Fame

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Mercer Clinic benefits from pooch costume pics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Military Families seek help to send Hugs from Home

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

High-flying fun at University Airport

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Day of the Dead observance focuses on refugee children

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Parents’ Night Out on Friday at Pole Line Baptist

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
DPNS has play group, preschool openings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Arboretum plant sale is Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UCD Vet Med hosts animal ‘adoptathon’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Carlton invites community to its Haunted Harvest

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

 
Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

A nose for mysteries: ‘Cadaver dog’ work more accepted by cops, courts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Check out classic cars once again

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fly-casting champion will speak to fishing enthusiasts

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Cooperatives meet community needs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Co-op trivia

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Author visits Woodland for community book project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Knowledgeable, experienced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
A leader our schools deserve

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

We need Sunder on board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
We support Archer, Adams

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

A force for good on board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

Our view: Two more years for Garamendi

By Our View | From Page: B4

 
Two are especially qualified

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

We have confidence in Madhavi

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
I support John Garamendi

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

.

Sports

.

Features

What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

 
Hand sanitizer versus soap and water

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Girl Scouts join effort to keep kids healthy

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Name Droppers: Foster parent heads to First 5

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Arts

 
San Francisco Symphony visits with conductor/pianist Zacharias

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
DMTC plans Halloween karaoke fundraiser

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Jam with folk musicians on Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
The Rhythm Future Quartet plays at Village Homes Community Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
DHS Madrigals plan traditional English winter celebration

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘Under the Covers’ concert benefits KDRT

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

All are welcome at Fun Time Follies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Dorothy Foytik

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Mariana Brumbaugh Henwood

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, October 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B10