High Court orders judge to explain closed hearing in Jessica Ridgeway murder trial
The Colorado Supreme Court is ordering a District Judge in the Jessica Ridgeway murder trial to explain why he closed the preliminary hearing to media and the public.
According to Steven Zansberg, an attorney for news organizations including The Denver Post and The Associated Press, Judge Stephen Munsinger will have until February 11 to file a brief with the Supreme Court who will then decide whether or not to open the court hearing to the public.
Judge Munsinger previously denied motions by several media outlets requesting access to the hearing. “The Court finds that the public dissemination of information which can reasonably be expected to be presented at the preliminary hearing would create a ‘clear and present danger’ to the fairness of the trial,” Munsinger’s order says.
The media group subsequently appealed Munsinger’s order to the State Supreme Court.
The preliminary hearing is currently scheduled for February 22 but will not go forward until the Supreme Court had made its ruling.
“It’s a positive development,” Zansberg said Thursday. “We’re very pleased the court has made this preliminary order.”
Sigg has been charged with 19 counts, including first-degree murder after deliberation, three counts of felony murder, sexual assault on a child, second-degree kidnapping and robbery, as well as attempted murder, attempted kidnapping and attempted sexual assault related to the park jogger.
11-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was kidnapped on her way to school October 5, 2012, and her body was found dismembered five days later in a field in Arvada. Authorities say that Sigg confessed to the murder and that he turned himself in after his mother found out.
Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial
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