Illinois

Judge rejects gag order in mother, unborn baby deaths case

A judge has refused to impose a gag order in a case involving two Chicago women charged in the deaths of a mother and the child cut from her womb.

Cook County Circuit Judge Peggy Chiampas on Tuesday said she would not restrict the public's "right of access."

Forty-six-year-old Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter, 26-year-old Desiree, are accused of luring 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez to Clarisa Figueroa's home by offering to give her baby clothes, and then strangling her and cutting the baby from her womb. Clarisa Figueroa then went to a hospital with the brain-damaged newborn, claiming it was hers.

The gag order sought by attorneys for the Figueroa's would have restricted what lawyers, Ochoa-Lopez's relatives and friends as well as activists could say outside court.

Chiampas did bar the family from bringing photos and posters into the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

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