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Judge quashes media subpoenas in Carson case

Posted March 10, 2010

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— A U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday that media outlets do not have to turn over copies of their coverage of the 2008 shooting death of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson.

Defense attorneys for Demario James Atwater, one of two suspects is the case, subpoenaed several news outlets, including WRAL News, The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh and UNC's student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, to produce copies of all publicly aired broadcasts, Web site articles, newspaper articles, blog postings and user comments regarding the case.

Chief Judge James A. Beaty quashed the subpoenas, ruling that the material is essentially available to the defendants on their own and that requiring media outlet to provide it would be "burdensome, unreasonable and oppressive."

The outlets, however, do have to provide information regarding circulation and demographic data for their coverage areas, he ruled.

Atwater's attorneys have asked Beaty to consider a change in venue out of state for Atwater's upcoming federal trial on charges of kidnapping and carjacking. They say he would be unable to get a fair trial because of the "staggering" amount of coverage surrounding the case.

Defense attorneys cite a statewide survey that found 80 percent of respondents had some knowledge of the case and that 52 percent believe Atwater is guilty and should be sentenced to death.

Jury selection in the case began Feb. 22; the trial, which will be in Greensboro, is expected to begin in Winston-Salem in May. Atwater could face the death penalty if he's convicted.

Atwater also faces state charges in Carson's death, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery, felonious larceny and felonious possession of stolen goods. If convicted, he could also face the death penalty on the murder charge.

A trial date, however, has not been set, for those charges.

Authorities say he and another man, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., kidnapped Carson in the early hours of March 5, 2008, forced her to withdraw money from ATMs, shot her five times, including once to the head, and left her on a residential street near the UNC campus.

Federal prosecutors allege that Atwater fired the fifth and final shot that killed Carson.

Lovette, who was 17 when Carson was killed, also faces several charges, including first-degree murder. He is not eligible for the death penalty under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits the executions of people under 18 at the time a crime was committed.

21 Comments

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  • Nikka Mar 11, 2010

    They are innocent, their mothers said so.

  • John Sawtooth Mar 11, 2010

    They subpoenaed BLOGS ? Wow.

  • BraveHeart Mar 11, 2010

    I would like to see them suffer forever.

  • bobbythreesticks Mar 10, 2010

    I don't care what color they are, if someone is found guilty and gets sentenced to death, publicly hang them. Sure, give them a few years to appeal their case, but if it is determined they deserve the death sentence, publicly hang them. If this country wants to curve the rate at which our prisons fill up and decrease crime, getting these actions into the public eye so that everyone can see what happens to those who break the law will have a positive affect.

  • wildcat Mar 10, 2010

    tHANKS.

  • wildcat Mar 10, 2010

    And I for one pray they GET WHAT THEY DESERVE!

    That will never happen. They will get LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE. WATCH AND SEE.

  • Tolip Mar 10, 2010

    "But everyone has legal rights including these young men." Calling these animals "men" does a total disservice to real mean everywhere. Yeah there is supposed to be due process, but they deserve DEATH! And I for one pray they GET WHAT THEY DESERVE!

    Have a nice ramble and rant!

  • wildcat Mar 10, 2010

    How does that sit with ya?

    VERY GOOD - KNOWING WE ALL HAVE LEGAL RIGHTS REGARDLESS OF WHAT CRIME WAS COMMITTED.

  • wildcat Mar 10, 2010

    Whom do you think you are? Stop defending the scum of the earth!! How does that sit with ya?
    Tolip

    Not an order at all. But everyone has legal rights including these young men. But of course you knew that. Then again, except what may come, YOU are not in charge and will not be. Thank God/Jesus you are not. Meanwhile cool down. It will do your heart good. This is America and I am proud to live here. LIFE IN PRISON FOR BOTH GUYS WITHOUT PAROLE. HAVE A GREAT DAY.

  • Tolip Mar 10, 2010

    "Find something useful to do" Is that an ORDER SIR?

    Whom do you think you are? Stop defending the scum of the earth!! How does that sit with ya?

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