Officials from the Los Angeles Superior Court announced Monday that media will be allowed into the courtroom next month during the sentencing of James Dorsey, a reversal of the bench’s previous standing order.
In a statement released Monday, officials said Judge Cynthia Ulfig reversed her previous order barring members of the media from the courtroom after the action had been specifically requested by defense counsel.
The transcript of that conversation was sealed and unpublished in the court record, but remained in effect for all subsequent court appearances by Dorsey, including last week’s procedural hearing where he entered a no-contest plea to having broken into his estranged wife’s Saugus home April 15 and stabbed her to death while their children slept in their rooms.
In total, Dorsey, 42, pleaded no contest — what is essentially treated as a guilty plea — to the following: murder, attempted kidnapping, residential burglary, evading police and resisting a law enforcement officer.
Prosecutors say he fatally stabbed Michelle Dorsey, 39, at the Fir Court residence in the early morning before then stealing her Chevy Malibu from in front of the home and fleeing the scene.
At 5:10 a.m. Michelle Dorsey made the call to 911, saying that she had been attacked in her home and required medical attention. She would go on to make what investigators call a “dying declaration,” naming her husband as her attacker, before she died at the hospital later that morning.
Dorsey was taken into custody at 10 p.m. that same day, after leading law enforcement on a countywide manhunt and ultimately crashing the Malibu into an embankment on a remote road in Quartz Hill, near the Kern County line.
The trial, despite its relatively quick speed, has been brought to the center of the conversation surrounding both local domestic abuse as well as county politics.
In previous articles published by The Signal, law enforcement officials and family members openly criticized the charges levied against the accused murderer. Their criticism has stemmed from the lack of sentencing enhancements — a way in which prosecutors request additional sentencing years from judges should there be extenuating circumstances in a particular case — added to the five charges to which Dorsey eventually pleaded no contest.