Motion: Media intervention in McCraney case has no legal standing

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DALE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — There’s been a new development in the battle for public access to the proceedings of the Coley McCraney case.

The prosecution has filed to dismiss a June 21 motion made by several media organizations to intervene in a pretrial publicity hearing, which will decide if the media and the general public will be denied access to cover the case.

McCraney is currently on trial for the death and rape of J.B. Beasley as well as the death of Tracie Hawlett.

The hearing will also determine whether records will be kept sealed and whether a gag order will be placed on those involved in the case to keep them from talking to media.

The prosecution’s new motion essentially states that the media organizations have no right to intervene as Rule 24 of Alabama’s Rules of Civil Procedure cannot be applied to criminal proceedings.

Rule 24 gives citizens the chance to intervene in legal proceedings in the following in the situations:

(a) Intervention of right. Upon timely application, anyone shall be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute confers an unconditional right to intervene; or (2) when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant’s ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant’s interest is adequately represented by existing parties.

(b) Permissive intervention. Upon timely application anyone may be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute confers a conditional right to intervene; or (2) when an applicant’s claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common. When a party to an action relies for ground of claim or defense upon any statute or executive order administered by a federal or state governmental officer or agency or upon any regulation, order, requirement or agreement issued or made pursuant to the statute or executive order, the officer or agency upon timely application may be permitted to intervene in the action. In exercising its discretion the court shall consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties.

(c) Procedure. A person desiring to intervene shall serve a motion to intervene upon the parties as provided in Rule 5. The motion shall state the grounds therefor and shall be accompanied by a pleading setting forth the claim or defense for which intervention is sought. The same procedure shall be followed when a statute gives a right to intervene.

(dc) District court rule. Rule 24 applies in the district courts.

Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure IV. PARTIES Rule 24.

However, according to attorney David Emery’s motion, “criminal cases are limited to the stat [sic] and defendants.”

The hearing was scheduled for this Friday but has been postponed to Aug. 8.

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