Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 at 5:04 pm in Crime.
A three-person panel representing the San Joaquin County Superior Court decided Wednesday to allow just nine members of Bay Area news organizations to have a guaranteed seat in the courtroom when suspect Melissa Huckaby returns for further arraignment early Friday afternoon in the Sandra Cantu murder case.
An additional 17 media seats will be assigned via lottery on Friday morning.
Among those included are reporters from four Sacramento television stations, one each from the Tracy Press, Stockton Record, Sacramento Bee and Manteca Bulletin.
San Joaquin County Superior Court Presiding Judge William J. Murray, one of the three who made the media picks, said Thursday that the omission of the San Joaquin Valley Herald/Inside Bay Area.com was an oversight. He apologized but said it was too late to make a change.
After spending much of the day trying to track down Rosa Junquiero, the clerk for the San Joaquin County grand jury who is assisting with media requests, reporter Mike Martinez finally received a call back from her around 4 p.m. She also sat in on the decision and had spent the better part of the day dealing with media issues (probably plenty of complaints about not getting in.) She also apologized, saying they wanted to make sure they took care of the local media first.
She assured us that the San Joaquin Herald would be “on her radar” the next time Huckaby returns to court and they again look at reserving seats.