Judge excludes public from boxer Victor Ortiz's preliminary hearing over rape allegations

December 16, 2019Media Mention
VC Star

A judge on Monday excluded the public from local boxer Victor Ortiz's preliminary hearing over sexual assault allegations.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge David Worley said any "pretrial publicity" will hurt Ortiz's ability to receive a fair trial should any evidence from the preliminary hearing be disseminated. The ruling also means record of the preliminary hearing is under seal.

Doug Mirell, a First Amendment attorney, said there is a U.S. Supreme Court case from the 1980s ordering preliminary hearings open to the public unless closure is essential to preserving higher values, such as constitutional rights.

According to the high court's decision, a judge must look into closure alternatives to mitigate this potential harm and state the findings on the record, Mirell said. In Ortiz's case, Worley did not appear to explain what other alternatives there were and why they weren't sufficient for the case.