STEUBENVILLE - Visiting Juvenile Judge Tom Lipps is expected to rule next week on several motions in the case of two Steubenville High School student-athletes charged with rape.
Lipps heard arguments Friday in the juvenile courtroom of the Jefferson County Justice Center on motions to close the trial to the public and media, move it to another county and for a continuance.
Trent Mays, 16, of Bloomingdale and Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville have been charged with rape in connection with an incident that allegedly happened Aug. 11-12. Mays also faces a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for allegedly having a picture of the victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone. Attorneys for both defendants have denied the charges
Attorney Walter Madison, representing Richmond, withdrew a motion he had made earlier that asked for the trial behind closed doors. An attorney for the victim, meanwhile. argued the trial should be closed.
Marriane Hemmeter, Ohio Attorney General special prosecutor, said the state's position on the issue has changed since a probable cause hearing in October when the victim didn't testify. Hemmeter said the 16-year-old victim will take the stand in the trial.
Attorney Kevin Shook, representing The Associated Press, ABC, CNN, CBS News, The New York Times and WEWS-TV, told Lipps closing the case will only increase the outside perception of a coverup in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
He said people will talk about the case whether closed or open.
"Let's make sure they talk about it accurately," he said, in reference to allowing the media to cover and report on the hearing.
Kristen Andrews Wilson, representing Ogden Newspapers and the Herald-Star , said there are rules and standards in courtrooms to make sure the truth is told and not rumors.
"If the public can see the truth, it can limit speculation and rumors up to this point," she said.
See Saturday's edition for more details.