By Julia Brouillette
Efforts by several local media outlets to bring video cameras into accused killer Craig Patterson’s preliminary hearing next week again met with defeat — this time by District Court Chief Judge Becky J. Moore.
At Tuesday’s hearing in the city courthouse, a media representative argued that television coverage of the proceedings would ensure a fair trial for Patterson, who allegedly shot and killed Julian Dawkins in May. Circuit Judge William Hamblen previously denied a similar motion on July 2.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel criticized the petition and warned of the possible negative impact that television coverage from within the courtroom could have on the defendant.
“Broadcast of a preliminary hearing — unlike a trial — is going to present an entirely incomplete picture of what the case really is about,” he said.
Sengel also raised concerns over the defendant’s right to an impartial jury, and questioned the likelihood of balanced news coverage.
“Whatever gets broadcasted is going to be picked apart by some talking heads," he said. “I think that creates the potential for prejudice.”
Patterson’s attorneys agreed with Sengel, arguing television coverage would foster a one-sided view of the case.
Moore sided with the defendants, saying the presence of cameras could put undue pressure on witnesses and ultimately affect the defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial.