State asks to close competency hearing

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 29, 2012 6:30 AM

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The state is asking a competency hearing be closed and outside the immediate presence of the defendant in a case involving an Iowa City woman who allegedly started a fire that killed a 14-year-old boy and injured two others, according to court documents.

Assistant Johnson County Attorney Anne Lahey responded to defendant Lillie Will Williams' motion for a competency hearing last week, claiming the state believes a 5-year-old child witness is competent and asking the hearing be closed and without Williams present.

Lahey also responded to Williams' motion to produce by saying she believes the state has turned over all interview reports, tapes, and recordings regarding the witness as requested by Williams, except for child-abuse assessments and juvenile-court records involving the child. She said those documents are protected under Section 235A.17 in the Code of Iowa and confidential pursuant to Section 232.127 respectively and may only be released with specific court order.

Sixth District Judge Paul Miller then ordered the state to file a supplemental response by today furnishing legal authority for the requests made to close the hearing and hold it outside Williams' presence.

— by Beth Bratsos

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