UPDATE: Coley McCraney pre-trial publicity hearing postponed



The pre-trial publicity hearing has been postponed, according to attorney David Harrison. The new date is set for Aug. 8, 2019.


Prosecutors in the 1999 murder case of J.B Beasley and Tracie Hawlett have motioned for a wide-reaching gag order to control pretrial publicity.

The defense and prosecution will make their case concerning controlling publicity on Friday, July 12.

According to the prosecution, the amount of media coverage in the Coley McCraney case has prompted them to move for action to “control pre-trial publicity with the aim of preserving a neutral jury pool in Dale County.” However, the defense says that the people of Dale County can be fair.

“I think that having knowledge of this case it’s a given,” Attorney Andrew Scarborough said. “Everyone has knowledge of this case, but the people of Dale County are good people and I think that they can administer and be impartial in their decision.”

David Harrison also believes the idea that the prosecution can’t get an untainted jury is a mischaracterization since a judge can always fix the influence of prior knowledge.

“I think that they can’t get an untainted jury voir dire is maybe a misrepresentation,” Attorney David Harrison said. “Because, certainly the judge can cure it by asking the jury voir dire member to set aside opinions and go by the evidences that is introduced in the courtroom that day.”

Scarborough pointed out that the information shared outside the court proceedings has come from the prosecution, not the defense.

“It’s been the prosecution or the state that had disseminated all the information up to this point and time,” Scarborough said. “So, we want to put out our information and shut down everything else, and I think that’s wrong.”

“I think that if these proceedings are sealed and gagged, it will absolutely be a miscarriage of justice,” Harrison said. “Right now the people in this area want to know the truth.”

Many members of the media have been subpoenaed for Friday’s hearing.

According to the attorneys, McCraney is planning to attend all meetings.

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