Gag Order Issued In Vallejo Police Officer Murder Case
FAIRFIELD (CBS SF) — A Solano County Superior Court judge issued a gag order Thursday morning that prohibits the prosecution and defense from publicly discussing the case involving the murder of Vallejo police officer James Capoot.
The order by Judge Peter Foor allows both sides to disclose court dates and the reasons for them, but little else.
The request for the gag order was filed by Deputy District Attorney Karen Jensen. The Solano County Public Defender’s Office, which is representing murder suspect Henry Albert Smith, 37, of Fairfield, did not object to the motion.
“The order is appropriate for this case,” Jensen said Thursday morning.
Smith is charged with the Nov. 17 murder of Capoot, 45, of Vacaville. Capoot was shot and killed while pursuing Smith, a bank robbery suspect, on foot after a car chase that ended on Janice Street.
Smith also faces four special-circumstance allegations that would make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Those are murdering a peace officer on duty, lying in wait, committing murder to avoid arrest, and committing murder in connection with a robbery.
Smith also is charged with personally and intentionally firing a gun, being a felon in possession of a firearm and having a prior serious felony, or “strike.”
He is being without bail in Solano County Jail.
Under the gag order, defense attorneys and prosecutors are prohibited from discussing topics including the character, credibility or reputation of Smith or Capoot, the identity and expected testimony of any witnesses, and the content of any pretrial admissions by the defendant, Jensen said.
Also prohibited are discussions about forensic and physical evidence that may or may not be presented during trial, Jensen said.
The gag order does not apply to discussions on the record in court.
A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 9 on whether the gag order also will prevent law enforcement agencies from discussing those aspects of the case.
Thousands of people attended a memorial service Wednesday for Capoot at Corbus Field at Vallejo High School.
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