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Judge places restrictions on media in trial of 2 ex-APD officers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Woe betide any member of the media who even accidentally gets a photo of a juror selected to decide whether two ex-cops should be convicted of second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of James Boyd in the Albuquerque foothills in 2014.

Such an offender, or his or her corporate overlords, should be prepared to pay the not inconsiderable costs of a retrial.

And that’s not all.

In a “Standing Decorum Order” issued Wednesday, 2nd Judicial District Judge Alisa Hadfield served notice that there will be no cellphones, tablets, computers or the like in the courtroom when the trial of former Albuquerque police officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez starts in the third week of September (except for law enforcement).

There will be no interviews in the courthouse, effective now until a verdict comes back. No interviews of defendants, witnesses or lawyers in the courthouse. And no pictures of jurors – who’ll be issued badges – coming and going from the courthouse, either.

There will be no designated seating for media.

The front row of the courtroom is to be kept clear.

Media credentials are required.

Neither the public nor the media may come or go from the courtroom while court is in session.

There will be an extra security post with court security officers and a magnetometer.

No media tents, chairs, tables on courthouse grounds unless approved by the court.

Though not stated in the eight-page order, the District Court has grappled with a few unfortunate incidents in recent years that may have figured into Hadfield’s decision, though all were in other judges’ courtrooms.

Three jurors were dismissed after a view of them was recorded accidentally by the pool camera for one TV station and then broadcast by another during the trial of Alex Rios, one of three youths charged with fatally bludgeoning two homeless men.

In another lapse, video footage was broadcast of child abuse victim Omaree Varela lying on a bed, despite a judge’s explicit orders prohibiting it, during the trial of the boy’s stepfather.

Court officials also were upset by a reporter’s insistence on chasing down and filming a judge’s assistant when the judge refused to speak about a ruling – because the Judicial Code of Conduct bars judges from doing that.

Violations of the order could subject the violator to permanent exclusion from the proceedings.

As the next-to-last word, in case anyone missed the point, the order says in boldface type:

“If violation of this Standing Decorum Order results in a mistrial, the violator of this order may be subject to the full cost of the trial.”

In sum: Be on your best behavior.

Clear enough?

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