OPEN COURTS -- The Sacramento Bee reports that a Woodland dentist accused of fondling more than a dozen female patients has asked a judge to bar the media from covering his trial—while a motion to close a preliminary hearing in a surprisingly similar case was granted just days ago in Riverside County.

Jury selection in the trial of Mark Anderson is scheduled to start next week in Yolo Superior Court. Opening statements are expected in mid-January.
    In the meantime, Anderson's lawyer, Michael Rothschild filed a one-sentence motion asking the court to "exclude all media from all trial proceedings, including but not limited to jury selection, opening statement and witness testimony, in this matter."
    Rothschild's motion gave no legal basis for the request.
    Constitutional law experts say the motion runs counter to the legal presumption that criminal proceedings in the United States should be open to the public.

Meanwhile the Press-Enterprise in Riverside reports that a judge closed a preliminary hearing to the public and the media Tuesday morning, siding with a defense attorney's claim that it would prevent a Hemet doctor charged with 141 counts of sexual assault and burglary from receiving a fair trial.

Judge Paul I. Metzler, a retired Los Angeles County superior judge on special assignment, ordered that the court proceedings be closed to the public after a defense attorney argued that they may taint a prospective jury pool.
    David Joseph Mata is a Hemet doctor charged with sexually assaulting and burglarizing his patients, including young teenage girls, at his practice. He is free on $1 million bond and still practicing medicine under a chaperone.

Mata was ordered Wednesday to stand trial after a detective testified in the one-day hearing that the doctor admitted he may have acted inappropriately on occasion.