Prosecutor seeks to stop attorney from going public

By The Associated Press

GOSHEN — A northern Indiana prosecutor has asked a judge to prevent an opposing attorney from making comments to the media about a man who alleges he was coerced into a false murder confession.

Elkhart County prosecutor Vicki Becker told the judge Monday that attorney Elliot Slosar improperly released information and spoke to the media about Andrew Royer’s case, the South Bend Tribune reported . Royer, who is mentally disabled, was convicted in 2005 for the slaying of a 94-year-old woman.

Royer, 43, filed an appeal June 13 alleging he was wrongfully convicted because of shoddy police work, false witness statements, poor performance by his trial attorney and failures by police and prosecutors to turn over evidence favorable to him. Slosar spoke to the media the same day, discussing the county’s “epidemic” of wrongful convictions and police misconduct.

Becker said Slosar’s comments violated Indiana’s rules for attorneys, which prohibit specific comments that could risk unfairly swaying a trial or judicial hearing.

But Slosar said Becker is trying to stifle Royer’s constitutional right to counsel and Slosar’s right to speak for his client.

Becker initially filed a motion June 25 asking Elkhart Superior Court Judge Teresa Cataldo to give an injunction against “further extrajudicial statements” by Slosar. The prosecutor clarified on Monday that she was “not seeking a formal injunction” but rather asking Cataldo to exercise her authority to control publicity by both sides.

Cataldo is expected to decide on Becker’s request in the coming weeks.

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