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Clements hearing in Maricopa court continues over search warrant

Evidence collected may be critical to case against accused child killer
2019-08-23 Clements in Maricopa-3.JPG
Posted at 10:07 AM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-11 00:17:04-05

The man charged with killing six year old Isabel Celis and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzales has hundreds of pages of sensitive background information on people in the sort of reports restricted to law enforcement.

That came out in Maricopa County court hearings today in a dispute over evidence seized from Clements jail cell there.

It was never really established what Clements was doing with hundreds of pages of sensitive information or whether it’s still in his custody.

It’s all part of a dispute over evidence collected from his jail cell that could affect a burglary case in Maricopa County and the child murders in Pima County.

RELATED: Christopher Clements hearing could affect key evidence

Maricopa County detectives were searching Clements cell on a search warrant requested by Tucson Police seeking evidence in the child murders.

The dispute is over them temporarily seizing what’s called a legal box. That’s a collection of legal documents jail inmates can keep but attorney/client privilege says only the defendant and his lawyers should look at those documents.

It is okay for law enforcement to look for items spelled out in a warrant and to make sure the box isn't used to hide contraband like weapons.

In this case took the whole box and Pima County arranged for a neutral attorney to separate items relevant to the child murder cases like photos that could show the Celis family house.

But while looking for contraband,now retired Maricopa County Detective Jan Butcher said she found Clements had hundreds of pages of what’s called T-L-O reports. They are supposed to only be available to law enforcement because they hold confidential information on people right down to birth-dates and social security numbers.

“I knew it had hundreds of pages of personal info...caused me great concern.” Retired detective Jan Butcher said.

Detective Butcher says she did not regard those records as part of Clements legal case so she compared them to lists of Clements alleged victims and did not find a match.

Clements will be in Pima County Court Monday for a hearing on issues related to the child murder cases.