A motion hearing for former University of Wisconsin student Alec Cook was held Thursday at the Dane County Courthouse.
The motions, both made by the defense, were to remove the notebook found in Cook’s apartment from evidence during trial and a change of venue.
During the hearing, the prosecuting attorney Christopher Liegel argued that the notebook, containing lists of women’s names, should be admissible as evidence during the trial because Cook gave consent to Detective Grant Humerickhouse to search his apartment in the presence of his attorney, Chris Van Wagner.
“The court has to determine to decide whether there was consent in this case what a typical, reasonable person would have understood the consent form to mean,” Liegel said.
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Cook’s other attorney, Jessa Nicholson, argued the notebook should not be admissible because the consent form Cook signed only approved of a search of the apartment and specific items, the notebook not being one of those items.
The contents of the notebook were seized because Detective Humerickhouse took pictures of the notebook, Nicholson said. These pictures were then part of the affidavit that provided the search warrant for the apartment.
“Diaries are extraordinarily private writings and the case [of Arizona v. Hicks] describes that private writings are typically not considered part of a limited scope of consent,” Nicholson said. “In fact, there was no request to search for writings here.”
Van Wagner also argued a change of venue due to the publicity of the case. He said it would be very difficult to get a fair jury in this area and a change of venue would give the opportunity for a fair trial.
The media plays a strong role due to their language used throughout the case, Van Wagner said. He requested a jury pool from outside the Madison media area.
“There are myriad, inaccurate descriptions of the number of accusers and what the accusations are,” Van Wagner said.
The judges John Hyland and Stephen Ehlke granted the motion to move the case outside of Madison Friday afternoon. They gave no timeframe as to when the decision to exclude the diaries from evidence would be made.
Update 6:22 p.m.: This article has been updated to include Judges John Hyland and Stephen Ehlke granting the change of venue motion to outside of Dane County.