Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Graves Retrial Judge Erred in Gag Order, Panel Finds

Graves Retrial Judge Erred in Gag Order, Panel Finds

That's the headline in today's Houston Chronicle reporting on the troubled saga of the Anthony Graves case. LINK

A state appeals court ruled that a Burleson County judge abused her discretion by imposing a gag order in the capital murder retrial of former death-row inmate Anthony Graves.

The opinion issued last week gives Burleson County District Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett 14 days to vacate the gag order.

Towslee-Corbett "committed a clear abuse of discretion by issuing a gag order without making sufficiently specific findings to support a prior restraint on Graves' right to free expression" under the Texas Constitution, the opinion said.

The majority said the judge presented no evidence to support her gag order, but they were not ruling on whether there was such evidence.


Graves' attorneys opposed the gag order, arguing their client was first convicted in 1994 because of prosecutorial misconduct and that unrestrained access to the media was necessary to ensure a fair retrial.

His attorneys appealed, arguing the order violated Graves' free-speech rights under state and U.S. constitutions.

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