Judge orders documents unsealed in Carbondale murder case

From the Post Independent (Glenwood Springs):  New details about what led to the arrest of Arturo Navarrete-Portillo in his wife’s death — Carbondale’s first homicide in 12 years — will be made public perhaps as soon as Wednesday, Garfield County District Court Judge James Boyd decided Tuesday in weighing the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and the press, and the Sixth, which guarantees a fair trial.

Authorities say Navarrete-Portillo admitted to killing his wife, Maria Carminda Portillo-Amaya, 30, as he was being flown to Grand Junction for medical treatment after a car accident on Feb. 16. Charged with first-degree murder, he sat quietly in a wheelchair listening by earpiece to a translator as public defenders sought to keep secret the contents of the arrest affidavit in his case. They argued that its disclosure would make it hard to seat an impartial jury, should the case go to trial.

The district attorney’s office and the Post Independent argued that upholding the public’s right to know what is going on in its courts would not compromise Navarrete-Portillo’s defense.

“The public does have an interest in open courts, which includes … things that get filed in court,” Boyd said from the bench. The defense, he said, had not shown “an appropriate basis to keep this arrest warrant sealed.”

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