Duncan’s defense attorneys request closed court

January 14, 2013 2:24 p.m. - Updated: 2:26 p.m.

BOISE — The former attorneys for convicted murderer Joseph Duncan are asking a judge to let them testify in secret about whether Duncan was mentally competent during his death penalty hearing four years ago.

Duncan’s current attorneys filed a motion in Boise’s U.S. District Court on Sunday asking a judge to either close the courtroom for the testimony or to allow the lawyers to testify at another private location.

Such secrecy is needed, the attorneys say, to keep from scaring other clients, who may fear their lawyers will someday reveal information about them in court.

Duncan was convicted of kidnapping two Idaho children and killing one of them in 2005. A federal judge is trying to determine whether he was competent when he gave up his right to appeal the death penalty.

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