Judge: Murder suspect must be in court in jail garb for TV cameras

Special to the Tribune

A Darien man charged with killing a man who was dating his former girlfriend must appear in court for his arraignment, and he won’t get to appear in street clothes, a DuPage County judge ruled today.

Joseph Spitalli, 34, will be wearing his orange jail uniform Monday when he appears before Judge Daniel Guerin – and news cameras -- for the formal reading of charges.

He is being held without bail, charged with the Nov. 16 first-degree murder of Teymur Huseynli, a 31-year-old Skokie resident who was dating Spitalli’s former girlfriend. Spitalli allegedly slit Huseynli’s throat with a kitchen knife after confronting the couple outside the woman’s Darien apartment.

The judge had previously granted a Chicago TV station’s request to record Spitalli’s arraignment. But the DuPage public defender’s office filed motions this week seeking to waive Spitalli’s appearance, or, in the alternative, to allow him to appear in street clothes.

Both motions, his attorneys argued, were aimed at preventing the publication of negative images that could potentially taint future jurors.

But Guerin denied the motions. The judge said it was important that Spitalli be in the courtroom so the judge can observe him to ensure he understands the charges against him.

The judge also said one goal of Illinois’ ongoing experiment with courtroom cameras is to give citizens a true picture of how the courts operate. Altering that process by making an exception for Spitalli’s attire was at cross purposes, the judge said.

Any possible public taint, should Spitalli’s case go to trial, could be addressed during the jury selection process, Guerin noted.

Spitalli's Monday appearance will be the second court proceeding in DuPage County to be recorded by news cameras. The first was the Nov. 21 arraignment of Elzbieta Plackowska, a Naperville woman accused of murdering her son, 7, and a girl, 5, she was babysitting.

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