DALLAS - A former Dallas police officer facing murder charges was at the Frank Crowley Courts Building Tuesday morning for a court proceeding.
Amber Guyger's defense lawyers met with prosecutors privately in Judge Tammy Kemp’s chambers. They did not come out into the courtroom. Guyger was in the courthouse, but not present for the meeting.
Gag orders were placed on attorneys for both sides. They are not allowed to give statements – written or spoken – to the media until the trial is over.
Judge Kemp also issued an order on courtroom decorum that details how the media will be allowed to cover Guyger’s trial and the proceedings leading up to the trial.
News agencies will be allowed to share a single video camera outside the courtroom window as long as jurors are never filmed. Similarly, news agencies will be allowed to share an audio recording from inside of the courtroom.
Reporters will have limited access to providing updates from inside the courtroom. No cameras will be allowed in and reporters will have to turn off their cellphones when they enter. No interviews will be allowed in the hallways, per the judge’s order.
Kemp wrote in her order that "less restrictive means will not adequately protect the defendants right to a fair trial and the interest in the state and the defendant in a fair and impartial jury."
Guyger was indicted for Botham Jean’s murder. She claims she entered the wrong apartment at the Southside Flats in September and shot Jean, thinking he was an intruder.
Tuesday’s proceeding was just the first step down a legal road of proceedings that will end with her facing trial.
The case garnered international attention because Jean was a Saint Lucia native and because of it involved an off-duty Dallas officer thinking she was in her home.
Daryl Washington, an attorney who was in the courtroom to observe on behalf of Jean's family in Saint Lucia, said it's still early in the process and attorneys on both sides are mostly just busy filing paperwork.
As for Jean's family, Washington said they are very anxious because they are not in the United States.
"They want to know what's going on during the entire process and my job is just to keep them abreast," he said. "It's going to require a lot of patience. The DA is doing their job. And we're going to sit back and watch the DA do their job and we're just hoping for a good result."
Observers believe the gag order is part of an effort by Kemp to protect the potential jury pool and prevent the trial from being moved out of Dallas County.