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NCJ Number: 77592 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Peering Into the Courtroom - An Analysis of the Public Interest
Journal: Valparaiso University Law Review  Volume:15  Issue:2  Dated:(Winter 1981)  Pages:371-407
Author(s): T L Kern
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 37
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This note addresses the public interest in judicial proceedings, especially the pretrial suppression hearing; relevant Supreme Court rulings are highlighted.
Abstract: Traditionally, judicial proceedings have been open to the public. However, the Supreme Court has begun only recently to articulate a constitutional basis for that tradition. The sixth amendment public trial guarantee may suggest a public right to open courts, but it remains a constitutional safeguard for the defendant rather than an independent right of the public. A constitutional right of access is now explicit for the trial stage of a judicial proceeding under the first amendment; pretrial stages are not yet included. Closure of a suppression hearing has been justified to protect the fair trial right of a defendant. In doing so, the Supreme Court has relied on the sixth amendment. While the Court has not yet acknowledged a first amendment public access right, public interests in open courts demand that such a right be recognized for judicial proceedings. Similarly, because exclusionary rule hearings inquire into the acquisition of evidence and determine the admissibility of evidence, and should instill public confidence in the courts as protectors of constitutional liberties and preserve the integrity of the judiciary, the hearings cannot fulfill their functions without public knowledge. The Supreme Court should recognize that the public right of access to trials must apply equally to all criminal proceedings. The article includes 229 footnotes. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Exclusionary rule; Fair trial-free press; Judicial decisions; Pretrial hearings; Right to trial by jury; Trial procedures; US Supreme Court
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