- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The attorney for a man charged in the death of a 15-year-old boy and the wounding of two other teenagers in a 2013 shooting has asked a judge to open court proceedings to the public and unseal case records.

Many documents in the first-degree murder case against Seth Fontenot, 20, have been sealed. Also, The Acadiana Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1tTDB9T ), Judge Edward Rubin closed at least two court hearings to the media and public.

The request from Fontenot’s attorney this week followed a petition by The Advocate and KATC Communications last month for permission to intervene in the case for access to all sealed documents, transcripts of closed court hearings and advanced notice of plans to close future hearings.

A hearing at the 15th Judicial District Court in Lafayette on the motion to intervene and on Fontenot’s request is set for Jan. 15.

Attorneys for the TV station and the newspaper argue that blocking access violates the First Amendment.

Fontenot was a freshman accounting major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when he allegedly shot and killed Rivault on Feb. 10, 2013. Two other teens also were hit. Fontenot said he believed the youths were trying to break into his truck.

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

In correspondence with attorneys for The Acadiana Advocate and KATC in November, Rubin wrote that opening records in the case could attract publicity that could damage Fontenot’s right to a fair trial.

Fontenot’s attorney, Thomas Guilbeau, wrote in court filings this week “that there are reasonable alternatives to closure that if implemented will adequately protect the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com


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