Judge Rules Samuel Hearing Sealed - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Judge Rules Samuel Hearing Sealed

Posted: Updated:
Court documents were sealed by a judge this week in Eldon Samuel's murder case. Court documents were sealed by a judge this week in Eldon Samuel's murder case.
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

A judge sealed the evidentiary portion of Eldon Samuel III's upcoming preliminary hearing during a status conference this afternoon.

The evidentiary portion is the majority of a preliminary hearing, where both parties present their evidence.

Samuel III is accused of murdering his father and brother last month.

Judge Clark Peterson addressed the parties this afternoon.

"I do not do this lightly," Judge Peterson said. "I do not remember ever having done this in a similar case."

The ruling to seal followed a motion filed earlier this month by Samuel's lawyer, requesting all records and proceedings in this case be sealed.

This morning, Judge Peterson held a status hearing on the motion at the Kootenai County Jail.

The defense argued that leaving the case open would fuel media sensationalism, and would lead to an unfair trial for the 14-year-old.

They claimed as a juvenile, Samuel III should have the right to confidentiality, as is the case with most juvenile trials.

Moreover, the defense argued that the charges, patricide and fratricide, reduced this case to a family tragedy rather than one of public interest.

The Samuel family, they said, including Eldon himself, would find it difficult to recover from this trial if more attention was drawn to the proceedings.

The Prosecution, who opposed the motion, argued that the defense lacked evidence and legal precedent to have the case sealed. They cautioned Judge Peterson not to make a ruling "based on emotion."

A third party -- KHQ's own legal team -- also addressed the motion in front of Judge Peterson.

They, too, took a stand against the defense's request, citing the public's first amendment right to public information, including court records.

In the end, Judge Peterson rationalized his decision by the consequences of each outcome.

"If I was wrong and failed to seal, there would be no remedy for this juvenile," he said. "But if I sealed when I should not have, the remedy is simply delayed information."

Eldon Samuel III, the judge said, is a remarkably unique defendant. If convicted, Samuel would only be the fifth minor ever tried and convicted of murder as an adult in Idaho.

The defense has also filed a continuance, delaying the preliminary hearing in this case. During today's hearing,

they indicated it will be at least two weeks before a preliminary hearing.

Jason Gray, KHQ's lawyer, said an appeal is possible after the judge enters an official written decision tomorrow.

He also said this decision only affects the preliminary hearing. If the case goes to trial after that, it will be moved to a district court, and

a separate motion must be filed for further proceedings to be sealed as well.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:42 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:42:03 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained. This does not necessarily mean the fire is totally out, but that crews are confident it won't spread and will be out soon.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained. This does not necessarily mean the fire is totally out, but that crews are confident it won't spread and will be out soon.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:42 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:42:03 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained. This does not necessarily mean the fire is totally out, but that crews are confident it won't spread and will be out soon.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained. This does not necessarily mean the fire is totally out, but that crews are confident it won't spread and will be out soon.>>
  • Action Cam: Lunch Ladies Convene In Spokane!

    Action Cam: Lunch Ladies Convene In Spokane!

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:19 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:19:32 GMT
    KHQ.COM - “You Are the Stars of Child Nutrition!” is the theme for the Washington School Nutrition Association’s annual state conference. The theme emphasizes the fact that, just like principals and teachers, by doing what they do every day, the 2300+ individual members of WSNA play an important role in student learning.>>
    KHQ.COM - “You Are the Stars of Child Nutrition!” is the theme for the Washington School Nutrition Association’s annual state conference. The theme emphasizes the fact that, just like principals and teachers, by doing what they do every day, the 2300+ individual members of WSNA play an important role in student learning.>>
  • Poulsbo man accused of impersonating police

    Poulsbo man accused of impersonating police

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:08 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:08:43 GMT
    BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) - A 21-year-old Poulsbo man is accused of impersonating police after he activated red and blue emergency lights to get another vehicle to pull over. The Washington State Patrol says Trevor Schwarz was stopped in Kitsap County early Monday after a caller reported that a truck had tried to pull them over using emergency lights, passed them and then ran a red light.>>
    BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) - A 21-year-old Poulsbo man is accused of impersonating police after he activated red and blue emergency lights to get another vehicle to pull over. The Washington State Patrol says Trevor Schwarz was stopped in Kitsap County early Monday after a caller reported that a truck had tried to pull them over using emergency lights, passed them and then ran a red light.
    >>