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Judge in Seal Beach shooting case bars records from public view

January 27, 2012 | 12:43 pm

Scott Dekraai (Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times)

An Orange County Superior Court judge Friday temporarily sealed the grand jury transcripts regarding the man charged with committing the largest mass murder in Orange County history.

Scott Dekraai's defense team filed a motion to seal the report from public view, arguing that the information could prejudice the jury, especially in light of the media attention the case has received.

The Orange County district attorney's office is expected to file a counter motion to deny sealing the report.

Judge Thomas Goethals is scheduled to rule April 13 on whether to keep the report sealed. The judge also set that date for a pretrial hearing.

"I'm mostly interested in what might be ... in the grand jury's report that's not already in the public domain," Goethals said.

Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Scott Simmons said after the hearing that the report is public information, and sealing it would hinder the transparent process.

Asked what information in the grand jury report could stand in the way of a fair trial for Dekraai, Simmons said he's leaving that up to the defense to argue.

Goethals also set a tentative trial date for Oct. 15. Though he admitted that it's hard to determine at this time whether the trial will begin on that date, Goethals wanted both sides to be mindful of a time element.


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--Mona Shadia, Times Community News

Photo: Scott Dekraai. Credit: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times