No decision in Carson tipster issue

January 13, 2010 6:07:09 PM PST
Hearings in the Eve Carson murder case continued Wednesday, but Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour delayed his decision regarding information police receive from Crimestoppers tips.

He said he needs to review more documents related to the defense's request.

Baddour also said he has to weigh whether to release all requested documents, specific information from certain documents or no documents regarding tips and informant identities and information.

People who give tips about suspected criminals call the hotlines because they don't have to reveal their identity to police.

Now, there's concern the names of some tipsters could be revealed. The information sought by the defense in the murder case reached police through an anonymous Crimestoppers tip.

"That's the biggest issue for the state," said Jim Woodall, Orange County district attorney. "We don't want there to be a chilling effect."

Lawyers defending Lawrence Lovette and Demario Atwater say they have a right to study all notes on Cromestoppers tips used by police and prosecutors. Defense attorneys have viewed the Carson Crimestoppers files.

"So, they've actually, physically looked at everything," Woodall said.

But the defense wants to investigate tips and possible contact people they can identify from the files. They believe some tips could help show Lovette and co-defendant Atwater did not rob and shoot Carson, who was UNC's student body president.

Attorneys also are awaiting a decision on the trial's location. The trial could move out of state. That decision is expected by next week.

The defense believes pre-trial publicity makes it impossible for Lovette and Atwater to get a fair hearing in Winston-Salem, where the trial's scheduled to begin in May.

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