Edward McMorris
Edward McMorris

Attorneys for the man accused of stomping and kicking his then 4-month-old puppy, Tater, have filed a request for a gag order on the Boulder County District Attorney's Office.

Defense attorney Eric Zale filed the motion Thursday on behalf of his client, Edward McMorris, 26, who was arrested Aug. 29 after witnesses said McMorris, a transient, was repeatedly kicking Tater, with one witness saying he stomped on the puppy's head and back several times.

McMorris initially was charged with felony animal cruelty, but that charge was dismissed by Boulder County Judge David Archuleta on Sept. 27, with Archuleta saying there was no probable cause to charge McMorris with a felony.

The following week, District Attorney Stan Garnett filed an appeal of Archuleta's decision, putting the case on hold.

In the meantime, Zale has requested a gag order on Garnett as well as his staff, writing in the motion that their comments to the media have hurt McMorris's chance for a fair trial in Boulder.

"The continuing media coverage and the comments by the elected District Attorney have tainted the potential jury pool to such an extent that it is becoming increasingly unlikely for Edward McMorris to get a fair trial in Boulder County," Zale wrote.

In particular, the defense cited two articles by the Daily Camera. In the first article, on Sept. 27, Garnett told the newspaper in an interview that he would "go over the record of the case and determine whether we want to move forward with an appeal." In the second article, on Sept. 28, Garnett told the Camera he would be filing an appeal, which his office formally did the following Monday.

"In order to ensure that a fair and impartial jury panel can be formed, defense is requesting that this court institute a gag order on the District Attorney and his agents," Zale wrote in the motion.

The District Attorney's Office filed a response earlier today opposing the motion, saying "none of the statements by the District Attorney have even come close to violating the District Attorney's obligations," according to the response. "The cited quotes of the District Attorney in this case are simply that the District Attorney's Office would go over the record of the case and determine whether to move forward with an appeal."

No date for a motions hearing has been set.

McMorris remains in Boulder County Jail on $3,000 bond.

Tater has since been reunited with his former owner in California.