While it is much more fun to hear positive and light hearted news filter from the media regarding our favorite teams, often we are faced with a story that is simply bigger than just football. Today, a Douglas County judge denied a request by an attorney representing Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox to have his preliminary hearing closed to the media and the public. Despite this ruling, it is no indication that the actual trial will be open to the public.
Upon the decision by Judge Susanna Meissner-Cutler, Cox’s attorney, Harry Steinberg, decided to waive his preliminary hearing because he feared that the added publicity would affect the possibility of his client receiving a fair trial.
Cox was arrested on Dec. 9th 2010, after Lone Tree police received a sexual-assault complaint on Oct. 28 from a local woman. The complaint alleges that the assault occurred around Sept. 6th 2010.
The charges sent a wave of shock through the Broncos community that was already dealing with a difficult season. Being a high profile athlete in Denver and being tried in Colorado makes putting together an impartial jury difficult enough, so Cox’s attorney was looking to provide the most fair court atmosphere that he could.
Steinberg said,”The presence of reporters will severely impact the defendant’s right to trial by a fair jury. The release of such information creates a clear and present danger to the court’s ability to conduct a fair and impartial trial. The media should be excluded from the preliminary hearing.”
To me, this sounds like a fair request, but there are apparently two schools of thought when it comes to something like this. Either you think that it is none of our business and we should leave it behind closed doors, or you believe that if nothing has been done wrong that there is no reason to try to hide it from the public.
Attorney Steve Zansberg, who represents The Denver Post, believes that the Colorado Court System leans to the latter, and that it has a long and unbroken tradition of open preliminary hearings. He also said that having the stature of a high profile athlete wont give you special protection when it comes to the medias access to a trial.
“It has no basis in law.” Said Zansberg. “The defendant cannot possibly meet that standard, and that is why preliminary hearings are uniformly open, including that of Kobe Bryant.”
The truth is no matter how much or how little we know as Broncos fans, it is not going to change what really happened. We all hope to see Cox on the field for the Broncos next year, but we also know that there is much more at stake than that. So while it swirls among other stories such as current CBA negotiations and NFL Pro Days, Cox’s story will undoubtedly have us holding our breath and hoping for the best.
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