Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

Court audio suspended temporarily for Selena media

By MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press Writer Copyright 1995 Houston Chronicle

1:51 PM 10/11/1995

Judge Mike Westergren, who already has banned cameras from the Harris County courtroom where Yolanda Saldivar is on trial for Selena's murder, on Wednesday temporarily cut off audio monitoring to courthouse pressrooms and television trucks parked outside the courthouse. Westergren took the action after defense attorney Douglas Tinker complained that courtroom activity could be heard outdoors from a speaker in a TV truck outside the courthouse.

Tinker said discussions in court outside the presence of the jury could be heard on the street and he was worried jurors and witnesses waiting outside also could hear them. "We join the defense," prosecutor Carlos Valdez said. "For now, we'll cut it off," Westergren said. After about 30 minutes of discussion in court, the audio was restored. An audio feed from the courtroom is piped into two pressrooms in the building and to numerous television trucks parked on the street outside.

According to rules set up before the trial began, news organizations are allowed to monitor but not record or reproduce the sounds from the courtroom. On Tuesday, several people were warned about recording and notices were posted in the pressroom that such recording was prohibited. Some photographers also were chastised for taking photographs in areas ruled off-limits.

Some 75 news organizations had requested news credentials to cover the trial and each of those was granted a single courtroom seat. Wednesday morning, however, only 14 reporters were in the media section of the courtroom and some 10 rows of seats were vacant.