Gag Order Pondered For Day Care Owner Charged With 4 Fire Deaths
Updated On: May 12 2011 01:02:49 AM CDT
Harris County prosecutors asked a judge to consider imposing a gag order "on all parties" involved in the case of day care owner Jessica Tata in the fire deaths of four children, Local 2 Investigates reported Thursday.
Judge Marc Brown of the 180th Harris County District Court told the prosecutor to file a formal motion so that his request could be considered.
No formal motion was filed in Thursday morning's court hearing, for which Tata was not in the courtroom.
Assistant District Attorney Steve Baldassano, the lead prosecutor on her case, told the judge that selecting a jury would be "impossible" because of the media attention the case is getting.
When asked by Local 2 Investigates to answer a question about his request, Baldassano replied, "That's not going to happen."
Also in court, Tata's defense lawyer, Mike DeGuerin, filed a Motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus in hopes of having Tata released from jail on a lower bond.
In his motion, DeGuerin said the $1.1 million bail now in place is unconstitutional.
"This amount is illegally excessive," he wrote.
His motion asserts that typical bail would be much lower for someone charged with four counts of intentional murder, but DeGuerin asserted that all four deaths in Tata's day care were not intentional.
"First, (Tata) and then personnel from the Houston Fire department attempted to save the children," he wrote.
His motion requests bond to be lowered to $50,000 so that she can be released pending trial.
The judge scheduled a hearing for June 27 to consider the motion for lower bond.
The motion for lower bail included a color photograph, which has appeared in the newspaper on numerous occasions, showing Tata crying outside the fire scene as evidence that the deaths were not intentional.
The motion asks bond to be lowered, "to be consistent with our notion of presumption of innocence and due process of law and to give credence to the (Texas) constitution."
DeGuerin met with Tata, who was brought to a holding cell adjacent to the courtroom for the hearing, but bailiffs did not bring her into the courtroom.
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