February 4, 2014

Judge denies request for hearing involving Couch case

Attorneys for local media outlets had filed a plea in intervention in Jean Boyd’s juvenile court.

State District Judge Jean Boyd has denied a request from attorneys representing local media outlets to conduct a hearing on whether a juvenile court hearing should remain open to the public.

Attorneys for the Star-Telegram and other outlets had filed a plea in intervention to ask that they be given a hearing in the event of any requests to close future proceedings regarding Ethan Couch.

Boyd sentenced Couch, 16, to 10 years’ probation after the teen admitted to driving drunk and causing a wreck that killed four people.

After a brief hearing with attorneys Tuesday, Boyd denied the request for the plea in intervention but did not say whether she intends to close Couch’s next hearing, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Boyd, who received national publicity in December when she sentenced Couch, has barred media members from her courtroom twice in the past few weeks in a homicide case involving another teen.

Boyd closed a pretrial certification hearing, saying media attention could influence a jury. On Jan. 22, she closed the hearing in which the accused teen, after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, was sentenced to 26 years behind bars.

The plea in intervention was filed in Boyd’s court by the Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning News, KDFW/Channel 4, KXAS/Channel 5, WFAA/Channel 8 and KTVT/Channel 11.

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