On Monday, January 8, 2024, NBC San Diego reported that San Diego County Judge Enrique Camarena denied a request from the defense counsel of Larry Millete to modify his restrictions on communication. Larry Millete has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Maya Millete, whose body has not been found.

At a status hearing in Chula Vista South Bay courthouse, Larry Millete’s new defense attorney Liann Sabatini asked Judge Camarena to allow her client to make phone calls to family members. Sabatini argued that the current order, which only permits communication between Millete and his attorney, violates his constitutional rights to freedom of speech, equal protection, and prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

However, Deputy District Attorney Christy Bowles opposed any changes to the order, citing Millete’s past violations. Shortly after Millete’s arrest in October 2021, Judge Dwayne Moring issued a criminal protective order allowing Millete to communicate with his children only through letters reviewed by a court-appointed guardian. Prosecutors allege that Millete had his parents enable hundreds of unauthorized phone calls to his children. In response, Judge Moring expanded the restrictions to only allow calls to the defense counsel.

Bowles insisted the order was necessary because Millete often wanted to contact people in the presence of his children. Judge Camarena agreed with the prosecution, denying Sabatini’s request to modify the restrictions. He explained that historically, the constitution was established before modern communication technologies and is not affected in this case. The judge also referenced Millete allegedly using another inmate’s PIN to make inappropriate calls to his children about a disturbing prison film.

After the ruling, Sabatini told reporters outside the courtroom that in her experience, she had never encountered a court order as restrictive as the one prohibiting non-legal video calls and emails for her client. Judge Moring is maintaining the protective order as the prosecution and defense prepare for Millete’s murder trial scheduled for August 2024. The purpose of the hearing was to check the defense’s progress as they review evidence in the complex case.

 

Source: NBC San Diego