Media & Communications Law

Judge Bans TV Reporter for Texting Just Before High-Profile Murder Verdict

A jury in an Arkansas capital case today found defendant Curtis Lavelle Vance guilty in the 2008 rape-murder of a well-known television personality, anchorwoman Anne Pressly of KATV.

But one reporter covering the high-profile trial apparently wasn’t there for the verdict, having been banned earlier in the day by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza for sending text messages in the courtroom, reports the Associated Press.

Piazza said he would have considered holding reporter Jill Monier of Tennessee television station WHBQ in contempt, except that there was no one to detain her—aside from the Vance trial, the courthouse was closed for business during the Veteran’s Day holiday.

The jury found Vance guilty of capital murder rape and murder just after 3 p.m., after about two hours of deliberation, according to KATV and another Associated Press article.

It will now decide whether to sentence the 29-year-old Vance to death.

The judge allowed cell phones in the courtroom, but said they must be turned off, the news agency notes.

The television station could not immediately be reached by the AP for comment.

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