Judge orders State to produce documents in Williams case

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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A judge on March 2 ordered that the state produce documents regarding a 5-year-old witness in a case involving an Iowa City woman who allegedly started a fire that killed a 14-year-old boy.

Assistant Johnson County prosecutor Anne Lahey said she originally didn't provide child-abuse assessments and juvenile-court records involving the witness to the defense because the material was confidential. The order issued by 6th District Judge Paul Miller requires the prosecution to produce the documents and the defense to file supplemental writings expressing legal authority to receive the information. The court will decide if the documents are relevant to the case.
Miller also agreed the hearing determining the competency of the witness be closed to the media and public.

Lahey originally asked the hearing be closed to the public and not in the presence of defendant Lillie Will Williams' because of the age of the alleged victim, the nature of the alleged offense, and the potential harm to the victims, according to court documents. The child, having allegedly witnessed the setting or settings of a fire that resulted in the death of his cousin, has resulted in the child suffering significant trauma.

Brian Sissel, one of Williams' attorneys, said he didn't know if it's Constitutionally valid to close the courtroom to the media and public, but he understands the concern of the prosecution.

Attorneys and other valid parties will be allowed at the hearing, but Miller has yet to issue an order regarding Williams' presence.

— By Beth Bratsos

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