Judge defers decision on moving Hinton trial

Rickey Hinton contends he can't get a fair trial in Pierce County.

He’ll have to wait for jury selection to prove it, a judge decided Wednesday.

Hinton, 47, is charged with rendering criminal assistance to Maurice Clemmons, who shot and killed four Lakewood police officers last November. His trial is set for Oct. 28.

Hinton and four co-defendants are part of the so-called “Clemmons Seven,” a group of relatives and friends accused of helping Clemmons in his three-day flight.

Wednesday, defense attorneys argued that media coverage of the shootings, pretrial publicity and political self-promotion by prosecutors justified moving the case to another county.

The argument included copies of campaign brochures from Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, who is seeking re-election, and deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann, who is running for District Court judge. Both brochures referred to efforts to prosecute “The Clemmons Seven.”

McCann and deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner filed counter-arguments noting media coverage and publicity did not meet the legal standard for moving the trial. They cited the example of Clemmons’ sister, LaTanya Clemmons convicted earlier this year of rendering criminal assistance. Her jury trial was held in Pierce County.

Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend deferred a decision on the issue, opting to wait for jury selection to measure the difficulty.

Pretrial arguments in Hinton’s case will continue today. Arend will rule on a question of aggravating factors tied to charges against Hinton, and the admissibility of his statements to police.