Darien murder suspect tries to avoid court cameras
Attorneys for a Darien man would rather he not appear in court for his own arraignment on murder charges because the media will be there with cameras rolling.
DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin could rule Friday whether suspect Joseph Spitalli can waive the appearance. If not, Spitalli's attorneys want him unshackled and allowed to wear street clothes.
Assistant Public Defenders George Ford and Mark Lyon made the requests Wednesday after Guerin granted extended media access to Spitalli's Monday arraignment. Ford argued the presence of cameras could compromise his client's rights to due process and a fair trial, but Guerin said the case fit within state guidelines.
Spitalli would be the second defendant to be photographed in a DuPage court since the Illinois Supreme Court opened some proceedings to cameras on an experimental basis last year. In November, cameras rolled as Elzbieta Plackowska of Naperville pleaded not guilty to the stabbing murders of her 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old girl.
Since then, DuPage judges have turned down three requests for camera access to murder or homicide cases — once because the defendant was a minor charged as an adult and twice because the media wanted in on dates when attorneys would only be exchanging discovery materials briefly.
Guerin's ruling Wednesday was unique in that, for the first time in DuPage, it's a standing order that applies to all future court events for a single defendant. The media can return and photograph Spitalli at any appearance, the judge said, barring any additional judicial orders saying otherwise.
Spitalli, 34, is charged with slashing the throat of his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend in November. Prosecutors said the victim, Teymur Huseynli, 31, was slain as he and Spitalli's ex-girlfriend left her apartment in Darien.
Spitalli is being held without bond.
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