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      Judge grants Ex Parte in Bustamante case

      Cole County Judge Pat Joyce at April 28 status hearing

      A judge has ruled that the defense team for accused murderer Alyssa Bustamante can file court requests in secret.

      Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce signed the court order Tuesday giving Bustamante TMs public defenders the go ahead to file motions ex-parte and under seal. This means that only the judge and the defense team will have access to the information. Joyce said the motions must provide the facts as to why the prosecution and the public should be kept in the dark.During the last court appearance on April 28th, Bustamante TMs attorneys said they need to obtain documents and testimony from Bustamante and her family TMs past. Much of that information is protected by privacy laws and can only be obtained through court order. The prosecution would have access to such orders and Bustamante TMs attorneys say that would reveal their trial strategy and violate Bustamante TMs right to an adequate defense.Judge Joyce said in the court order that she will decide on a case-by-case basis if the motions should remain under seal. There could also be ex-parte hearings in which only the defense team will appear to argue for keeping the motions private.

      Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson argued during the April 28th hearing that no special rules should be created for the Bustamante case and that she should be treated like any other pre-trial defendant. Richardson said he should be allowed equal knowledge of and access to the defense TMs research obtained through court order. (Read the story)

      See Judge Pat Joyce's decision