The decision by Denver District Court Judge Christina Habas to ban cameras from trial of Willie Clark, who's accused of murdering former Denver Broncos standout Darrent Williams, is no surprise given the violence of the attack and his status as a known gang member, not to mention the danger that attorneys will showboat. More unexpected, though, was her blanket dismissal of texting, live blogging, e-mailing or the like. According to her, the use of electronic devices like these increases the odds that "inaccurate information will be provided to members of the public, thus increasing the risk of interference in a fair trial" when proceedings get underway, probably in July.
Huh? This ruling suggests Habas' lack of knowledge or understanding of current technology. In my experience, notes taken using a keyboard, be it on a laptop or a handheld device, are infinitely more accurate than those scrawled on paper using a pencil or pen -- the judge's preferred implements, presumably. Hence, banning blogging, texting, etc., actually makes her stated goal more difficult for the press to achieve even as it causes unnecessary delays in the transmitting information to the general public, which has an understandably high level of interest in this case.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Habas can and should do what she can to avoid a circus atmosphere at the trial. But figuratively tying the hands of reporters who just want to share the story with readers isn't the right way to go about it.