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Alex Sanchez: Why Seal the Record?

March 11th, 2010 by Celeste Fremon


Earlier this week Tom Diaz noticed something that I had overlooked
with regard to the ongoing legal proceedings in the Alex Sanchez case.

Back in January, if you will remember, after the 9th Circuit rapped Judge Manual Real on the knuckles for the way he earlier went about refusing Sanchez bail, Real granted Sanchez had one last bail hearing. The hearing, however, was a two-part series—the second part of which featured two sets of “experts,” one chosen by the prosecutor, the other by Sanchez’ attorney, Kerry Bensinger. The experts testified in a closed door session with the judge on January 13.

Then shortly after the doors opened, Judge Real announced that he was granting Alex Sanchez bail. (Here’s a link to my post on the events of that day. Then find the rest of the Alex Sanchez posts here.)

Naturally, we who were confined to the trial-watching bleachers
wanted to know who was in those two groups of experts, and what exactly they said that convinced Judge Real that Alex was not a gargantuan threat to public safety.

But the court quickly sealed up both the names and the testimony. (That was after it accidentally allowed the prosecution’s list to be posted online—Ooops!—but then hurriedly resealed it.

AP reporter Christina Hoag also wanted to know what went on in the hearing
so she and the AP formally requested the transcript.

On Monday February 22, Judge Real declined to release it.

Something about invading people’s privacy.

Tom Diaz has his take on it here (which you should read).

Mine is a bit different. (I know, you’re shocked, shocked.)

Here’s the thing: We know by the outcome of the hearing that someone in the room—or perhaps several someones— spoke in support Alex Sanchez. So why can’t we know who that might be and what that person or persons said that persuaded Real to be his own devil’s advocate on the issue of bail?

Is it really that politically untenable to speak out publicly in behalf of a man
who has not yet been convicted of anything?

Never mind. Don’t answer that.

Posted in Arresting Alex Sanchez | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1. don quixote Says:

    Weird goings on Celeste, you’d think that unless there is an undisclosed, prosecution witness that has been working undercover (a snitch) and who’s identity has to be protected, that the proceedings and bail hearing should be a public document.
    And if city councilman Ed Reyes was the person who spoke on Sanchez behalf (as Tom Diaz alludes) then why would he want to have the records sealed? Is there some kind of backdoor deal going on here? The possibilities are endless but the bottom line is that it’s all suspicious and justice should be above suspicion.
    By the way, reading Tom Diaz blog was almost as excrutiating as listening to a typical bi-polar Glenn Beck ranting. He’s all over the place and no place in particular. Diaz opinions and attempt at humor are reminiscent of our own Psych Councilor and anecdotal Grand Poobah, SF.
    If Sanchez is an innocent man until proven guilty, and is now out on bail, then shouldn’t these court proceeding be transparent and available to the public, or has some backroom deal been cut to protect Judge Real from the obvious, that he’s an old looney tunes that shouldn’t have the power of life and death and judicial discretion at this point in his life?

  2. Woody Says:

    Why did they seal the records in chocolate?

  3. Sure Fire Says:

    “Is it really that politically untenable to speak out publicly in behalf of a man who has not yet been convicted of anything”?

    Politicians want to be able to tell their troops they went to bat for one of their own but to put it out in the light of day when a conviction or plea might be the end result, no way.

  4. Gava Joe Says:

    Why did they seal the records in chocolate? – Woody asks?

    Wandering the bluffs in the foothills I’ve noted that a coyote while watching the moon move and has a finicky bowel will leave scat which resembles that judicial seal.

  5. Daily Digest for March 11th » Comeuppance: Lo Que Has Guardado Says:

    [...] Shared Alex Sanchez: Why Seal the Record?. [...]

  6. Irwin Corey Says:

    Instead of stalking S.F. and Mary Cummins and working yoursef into paranoid frenzy, may I suggest “La Golondrina”

  7. Gava Joe Says:

    Great clip! Aint cultural diversity grand?

  8. Janet Says:

    After you first broke the story word on other blogs and within City Hall were saying one of those people was Councilman Cardenas. Now why would he not want people to know he supported Alex when Cardenas runs the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence. Very odd but I hope someone tracks down that list. Its somewhat bias to allow the prosecution list to be published but not the other side. Its alsmot as if the Judge is protecting “someone” (s)

  9. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Janet, I don’t think the release of the prosecution’s list was purposeful. Somebody screwed up. The minute we (Tom Diaz and myself) published the list, the court discovered their mistake and locked it up tight as a drum.

    As for, Now why would he not want people to know he supported Alex when Cardenas runs the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence.

    Whoever it is—Cardenas or someone else—it seems like the pressure is so great in certain sectors to view Sanchez as guilty, so to do otherwise, becomes a political liability—which, given that there has been no trial, is a bit loathsome.

    Yet somebody came forward anyway, which was to their credit, whoever they were. It would have been better had they been willing to do so publicly. And, yes, I would sure like to see—not just the list—but the testimony.

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