The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

January 25, 2014

Why we asked for the records

There is one court in the United States that controls everything inside and outside its chambers. Those covering that court’s proceedings have to get permission from the court to cover actions therein. And, when reporters ask for records, they most generally wait weeks to receive them, if they are allowed to see them at all.

The court is located at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The court is for enemy combatants that, in some cases, planned terrorist attacks against Americans.

What is appalling is the journalists covering the tribunals of 155 accused terrorists have more access compared to a case being currently tried in Daviess County Superior Court.

The case is the State of Indiana vs. Logan Evans and is currently sealed by the court while it heads to a trial. Evans is accused of murder in the shooting death of Devan Burris on Dec. 6, 2013.

There is no public record available in Evans’ case, and when asked to view them, access is denied by the Daviess County Clerk’s Office. The public, including all those interested in the case, did not even know a case number had been created, or that an attorney had been retained in the case until the court provided a case summary last week. Had there not been an original arrest record and a press release saying Evans had been arrested on a preliminary murder charge, it would be as if the case had not existed.

The records were sealed by Judge Dean Sobecki at the request of the Daviess County Prosecutor Dan Murrie. As to the reason behind the request, we have no idea since the request to seal the records is also sealed. On Thursday, through attorney Pat Carroll, the Times Herald asked to have the records of Evans be unsealed.

The reason the newspaper asked is no secret — we represent you. Through the guarantee of freedom of the press in both the United States and Indiana constitutions, we have a right to inform citizens of those accused of crimes in our county and their public proceedings in court. Three young people from our community face serious charges in the death of another teenager.

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