Prosecutor holds back names in Martin case

May 25, 2012 at 5:54 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., May 25 (UPI) -- A Florida prosecutor's decision to remove the names of key witnesses from publicly released information on Trayvon Martin's killing is unusual, experts say.

Special Prosecutor Angela Corey asked a judge for a court order sealing the identities of witnesses, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported. But she removed them last week when her office released witness statements and other documents.

Judge Kenneth Lester has scheduled a hearing next Friday.

John D. Kaney Jr., a Daytona Beach, Fla., lawyer and general counsel to the First Amendment Foundation, said redacting information is normally a judge's call.

"I don't know of any situation where a prosecutor made the unilateral decision to keep any part of the records secret, closed, after the exemption for investigation has expired, which this one has," Kaney said. "She has to do that in a motion to the court. She can't just do that on her own call."

George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., has been charged with second-degree murder. He says he shot Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was walking to a relative's house, in self-defense.

Corey removed other information from the public release, including Zimmerman's statements to police.

The racially charged case has become nationally and internationally notorious. Malcolm X School, an elementary school in Washington, announced this week it is holding a Trayvon Martin Day for its students, WJLA-TV reported.

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