Franklin County coroner Dan Blasdell will be performing an inquest in May, about the fatal shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco.  But he says one of the attorneys representing the family will not be allowed to participate in the process directly.

Blasdell has conducted more inquiries than any other coroner in the state, this will be his fourth.  An inquest or inquiry, is similar to a trial, but only used as a fact-finding tool.  It doesn't assign judgement or pronounce sentence.  It only provides a verdict that is advisory to law enforcement.  The jury in the inquest will "decide" the facts of the case, and say who they believe is responsible for the death; and if they believe that person or persons should face charges.   Officials will then use the results of the inquest to decide to proceed with charges or criminal proceedings.

George Trejo Jr., who is the attorney representing Zambrano-Montes' wife and two daughters, is demanding he be allowed to personally ask questions of witnesses, police and others, and be an active participant in the inquest. Usually, in virtually all such inquests, all questions are handled and asked by the prosecutor.

Blasdell, according to KNDU-TV, says Trejo Jr. has not corresponded with him personally about the matter, but if he does, he will be told "no."  Blasdell says he has valid reasons for this decision, according to KNDU:

"Once you get another attorney involved, cross examining and bringing his own agenda to the table, it can cloud that, so that's why we would only allow those questions just to be asked by the prosecutor."

Blasdell says any questions from Trejo can be submitted and used in the process, just not by him directly.  Trejo Jr has already raised eyebrows in the case by demanding three Pasco police officers he says fired their weapons at Zambrano-Montes be brought up on murder charges, and skip the coroners inquest.

Some critics say Trejo's own run-ins with the Washington State Bar Association over ethics and other violations already cast doubts upon the credibility of his demands in this case.  Others believe he should be allowed to participate directly in the inquest process.

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