Attorneys for Brandon McInerney, the 14-year-old who in February shot and killed his gay classmate Lawrence King, were denied a request to access documents related to the decision to try McInerney as an adult. The request, which asked for “notes, communications, correspondence, internal memos and other documents” related to the decision, was denied by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Rebecca Riley:
“Wippert argued in court that the District Attorney’s Office didn’t use discretion, failing to look at such things as the circumstances surrounding the case or McInerney’s school or home life. That violated the defendant’s constitutional right to due process, he said. He said he doesn’t understand why prosecutors refuse to give defense lawyers information about the decision-making process. ‘It’s a scary world to think that a DA has unfettered discretion to do whatever they want,’ Wippert said. Senior Deputy District Attorney Maeve Fox said defense attorneys, by law, aren’t entitled to what the lawyers were requesting, including discussions that prosecutors had in making the decision. ‘Guess what? They aren’t entitled to know what is mulling around in the DA’s mind,’ Fox said. ‘They have zero, no, legal basis for getting this material.'”
The judge agreed with the DA: “She said defense lawyers made no showing of ‘specific evidence’ that there had been abuse of discretion by prosecutors.”
In early December, McInerney was ruled competent to stand trial. McInerney is being tried as an adult despite many calls to try him as a juvenile, including requests from a coalition of gay groups.