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News Posted on May 18, 2010

Professor Shestowsky Comments on Cantu Gag Order for Record

Professor Donna Shestowsky commented for the Stockton Record on the gag order that remains in place in the highly publicized murder case of eight-year-old Sandra Cantu.  San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus has said she needs time to consider whether or not to release details of the case in the wake of a guilty plea from the accused, Melissa Huckaby.

Citing research on how laypeople view authority figures, Professor Shestowsky said that keeping trial information from the public might have the unintended consequence of heightening public suspicion of government.

"If everything is kept quiet on such a shocking case, then that can definitely have negative consequences," said Professor Shestowsky. "In some ways, it can have a boomerang effect and make people want to know more."

Donna Shestowsky, who has both a law degree and a PhD in Psychology, is a Professor at UC Davis School of Law, where she teaches Criminal Law, Negotiation Strategy, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Legal Psychology.  She was the 2007 recipient of the Law School's Distinguished Teaching Award.

Stockton Record article