Gag order sought in carjacking case


Attorneys for a man charged with the carjacking death of Pam Basu are seeking a court order to prevent county prosecutors and law enforcement officials from talking about the case with the public.

Public Defender Carol Hanson said in a request filed Monday that the order is necessary for her client, Rodney Eugene Soloman, 27, of Washington, to get a fair trial.

Ms. Hanson cited a story published by the Howard County Times on Feb. 25 about Mr. Soloman allegedly causing discipline problems at the county Detention Center while awaiting trial. The story quoted James Rollins, chief warden of the detention center.

Ms. Hanson is asking the court to prevent officials at the county State's Attorney's Office, Police Department, Detention Center and Sheriff's Department from talking about Mr. Soloman or his case with the public and news media.

The public defender declined to comment on her request when contacted yesterday.

Howard Circuit Court Judge Dennis Sweeney is expected to rule on Ms. Hanson's request this month.

Howard State's Attorney William Hymes said he does not know how his office will respond to the request until he meets with prosecutors handling the case. He noted, however, that his office usually opposes such requests. He said the courts rarely grant them.

"The court is not prone to enter such an order," Mr. Hymes said. "However, in extreme situations a judge might do so."

Mr. Soloman is charged with first-degree murder and 18 other charges in the death of Dr. Basu, a 34-year-old Savage woman dragged to her death after being forced from her car on Sept. 8.

The defendant faces the death penalty if convicted. Mr. Soloman is to stand trial in another county, but the site and date of the trial have not been determined.

A co-defendant, 17-year-old Bernard Eric Miller of Washington, is to stand trial in Howard Circuit Court in May. He also has been charged with first-degree murder and 18 other counts. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.

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