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.>>
  • 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.>>
  • Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:45 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:45:06 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. >>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. In Spokane and Pend Oreille counties, several water systems are under boil-water advisories:·>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Fatal collision on eastbound I-90

    Fatal collision on eastbound I-90

    Saturday, July 26 2014 2:39 AM EDT2014-07-26 06:39:03 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Troopers are investigating an auto-ped fatal crash on I-90 eastbound near mile post 280. A 59 year old man was crossing I-90 when he was hit by a pick up truck. He died on the scene. Police say the driver does not appear at fault and don't believe drugs or alcohol played a factor.
    >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Troopers are investigating an auto-ped fatal crash on I-90 eastbound near mile post 280. A 59 year old man was crossing I-90 when he was hit by a pick up truck. He died on the scene. Police say the driver does not appear at fault and don't believe drugs or alcohol played a factor.

    >>
  • Progress being made on power outages

    Progress being made on power outages

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:36 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:36:01 GMT
    As of 11:00am Friday, there are just less than 15,000 customers without power in the Inland Northwest. There are still more than 6,125 Avista customers without power but Avista says reinforcement crews continue to arrive to help relieve and assist other crews who have been working around the clock. >>>SEE LATEST OUTAGE UPDATES>>>>>
    As of 11:00am Friday, there are just less than 15,000 customers without power in the Inland Northwest. There are still more than 6,125 Avista customers without power but Avista says reinforcement crews continue to arrive to help relieve and assist other crews who have been working around the clock. >>>SEE LATEST OUTAGE UPDATES>>>>>
  • 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.>>