By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The Havre Daily News has asked a judge to reconsider his decision to close to the public a pretrial hearing in the homicide case against Lawrence Jackson Jr.
Jackson, 26, is accused of fatally shooting Blaine County sheriff's deputy Josh Rutherford in a field near Harlem last year.
His attorneys, Bob Peterson of Havre and Ed Sheehy of Helena, have asked District Judge John McKeon to suppress statements made by Jackson following the shooting. The attorneys said the statements were obtained by police in violation of Jackson's Miranda rights.
Last month McKeon granted a motion by the defense to close the April 13 suppression hearing in order to prevent the potential jury pool from reading about the statements. He also ordered that all documents related to the motion be sealed until after a jury is impaneled for Jackson's trial.
Under the court order, the Havre Daily News will be allowed to attend the April 13 hearing and obtain copies of the documents, but is barred from publishing information about them until Jackson's trial if McKeon grants the motion to suppress Jackson's statements.
McKeon's order allows the Havre Daily to immediately write about Jackson's statements if McKeon rejects the motion to suppress.
The court order reflected a compromise between the Havre Daily News and Jackson's attorneys.
Through its lawyer, John Shontz, the newspaper has asked McKeon to reconsider the order to close the suppression hearing to the public.
Jackson's trial, scheduled to start in June, was moved to Missoula County based on concerns that he could not receive a fair trial in Blaine County because of pretrial publicity, the small population of the county and the nature of the offense.