Judge orders stay on release of Tucson shooter mug shots

[JURIST] Federal District Judge Larry Burns [Judgepedia profile] ordered [text, PDF] on Friday that the federal mug shots of accused Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner temporarily be kept from public view. Defense counsel for Loughner filed an emergency motion to bar release of those photos to the public, arguing that release of the photos would bring unwanted media attention [Reuters report]. The motion claimed that the photos were unfairly prejudicial and their admission would be tantamount to trying him in the media. The court will hear arguments and make a final determination on the defendant's motion on February 18, 2011.

Burns was appointed [JURIST report] to hear Loughner's case one day after all federal judges in Arizona recused themselves [AP report] from the case following an order from US District Judge Roslyn Silver advising on the impartiality pitfalls that would be implicated if the case were heard by an Arizona federal judge. Federal prosecutors charged Loughner [JURIST report] with murder and attempted murder for his role in the Arizona shooting attack [NYT backgrounder]. Loughner was indicted in January and pleaded not guilty [JURIST reports] President Barack Obama has directed that the investigation into the shooting be conducted [press release] by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] and coordinated by Director Robert Mueller [official profile].

 

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