BOUNTIFUL -- A judge plans to keep open as much of the court proceedings as possible in the upcoming hearings for Nathanael and Stephanie Sloop, both charged with aggravated murder in the death of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy.
Judge Glen C. Dawson said Thursday in 2nd District Court in Bountiful that the hearings concerning what is and what is not admissible evidence will be as open as possible.
But before making a ruling, he wants more information, from all attorneys involved, about why any part of the hearings should be closed to the public.
Attorneys for the Sloops, prosecutors and an attorney representing the Salt Lake Tribune met with Dawson in his chambers for about 90 minutes. The Tribune had filed motions to keep the hearings open and to have court documents unsealed.
The Sloops, of Layton, are each charged with aggravated murder, second-degree felony child abuse, second-degree felony obstruction of justice and third-degree felony desecration of a body.
Ethan's body was found buried near Powder Mountain on May 11, 2010, after Stephanie Sloop, who had Ethan in a previous relationship, reported him missing several days after he had joined her for summer visitation.
The Sloops, who are both being held in Davis County Jail without bail, were not in court.
Another hearing is set for 9 a.m. April 21, when both sides will present further arguments.
The Sloops' attorneys, Richard Mauro and Mary Corporon, had previously filed motions to close court hearings concerning the admissibility of evidence.
Attorney Michael O'Brien, representing the Tribune, filed motions stating the public has the right to know what is going on with the case, so documents should be unsealed and hearings should be open.
"I don't know what the evidence is," O'Brien said after the hearing. "It could be benign or it could be salacious."
O'Brien said Stephanie Sloop's attorney, Corporon, believes the evidence could help her client and that prosecutors and Mauro, who represents Nathanael Sloop, are obligated to show it to her.
The evidence being discussed includes documents found and seized by Davis County sheriff's officers during a search of Nathanael Sloop's jail cell, Mauro said during the court hearing.
Mauro wants to keep those documents sealed. He also contends the evidence is not admissible because of "attorney/client privilege" and "doctor/patient privilege."
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said in court he plans to show that the evidence the defense does not want out in the public was obtained "lawfully and constitutionally."
Corporon said the seized documents could be "exculpatory" and her client should have access to them.
Prosecutors are still planning to seek the death penalty for both Nathanael and Stephanie Sloop.