Westlaw Download Summary Report for sanders,gloria 3743210



Download 478.53 Kb.
Page1/4
Date conversion04.05.2016
Size478.53 Kb.
  1   2   3   4


Westlaw Download Summary Report for SANDERS,GLORIA 3743210



Date/Time of Request:

Friday, September 29, 2006 14:06:00 Central

Client Identifier:

ABC

Database:

SCT

Citation Text:

100 S.Ct. 2814

Lines:

2051

Documents:

1

Images:

0

 

The material accompanying this summary is subject to copyright. Usage is governed by contract with Thomson, West and their affiliates.



Briefs and Other Related Documents

Supreme Court of the United States

RICHMOND NEWSPAPERS, INC., et al., Appellants,

v.

Commonwealth of VIRGINIA et al.



No. 79-243.
Argued Feb. 19, 1980.

Decided July 2, 1980.


Certiorari was granted to review dismissal of mandamus and prohibition petitions by the Virginia Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, Mr. Chief Justice Burger with two Justices concurring and four Justices concurring in the judgment, held that absent overriding interest articulated in findings, trial of criminal case must be open to public.
Reversed.
Mr. Justice White and Mr. Justice Stevens filed concurring opinions.
Mr. Justice Brennan filed opinion concurring in judgment in which Mr. Justice Marshall joined.
Mr. Justice Stewart and Mr. Justice Blackmun filed opinions concurring in the judgment.
Mr. Justice Rehnquist filed a dissenting opinion.
West Headnotes
[1] Federal Courts 509

170Bk509 Most Cited Cases

Where question of validity of state statute authorizing excluding people from criminal trial was not sufficiently drawn in question before state court, such issue could not be used to invoke appellate jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court but claim could be brought by way of certiorari. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) 28 U.S.C.A. § § 1257(2, 3), 2103; Code Va.1950, § 19.2-266.


[2] Federal Courts 12.1

170Bk12.1 Most Cited Cases

(Formerly 170Bk12)

Supreme Court's jurisdiction is not necessarily defeated by practical termination of contest which is short-lived by nature. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) 28 U.S.C.A. § § 1257(2, 3), 2103.
[3] Criminal Law 1134(3)

110k1134(3) Most Cited Cases

Even though criminal trial had been completed, court would decide question of whether state statute permitting excluding people from criminal trial was constitutional. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) 28 U.S.C.A. § § 1257(2, 3), 2103.


[4] Criminal Law 635

110k635 Most Cited Cases

Publicity of judicial proceeding is requirement of much broader bearing than its mere effect on quality of testimony. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.)


[5] Criminal Law 633(1)

110k633(1) Most Cited Cases

To work effectively, it is important that society's criminal process satisfy appearance of justice. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.)


[6] Criminal Law 635

110k635 Most Cited Cases

Media representatives enjoy same right of access to criminal trial as public. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.)


[7] Criminal Law 635

110k635 Most Cited Cases

Unbroken, uncontradicted history, supported by reasons as valid today as in centuries past, lead to conclusion that presumption of openness inheres in very nature of criminal trial under our system of justice. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amends. 1, 6, 14.


[8] Constitutional Law 90(1)

92k90(1) Most Cited Cases

Expressly guaranteed freedoms of First Amendment share common core purpose of assuring freedom of communication on matters relating to functioning of government. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amends. 1, 14.


[9] Constitutional Law 90(1)

92k90(1) Most Cited Cases

The free speech carries with it some freedom to listen. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amend.1.


[10] Constitutional Law 90.1(3)

92k90.1(3) Most Cited Cases

In context of trials, First Amendment guarantees of speech and press, standing alone, prohibit government from summarily closing courtroom doors which had long been open to public at time that amendment was adopted. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amend. 1; Code Va.1950, § 19.2-266.


[11] Constitutional Law 91

92k91 Most Cited Cases

From outset, right of assembly was regarded not only as independent right but also as catalyst to augment free exercise of other First Amendment rights with which it was deliberately linked. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amend. 1.


[12] Criminal Law 635

110k635 Most Cited Cases

A trial courtroom is a public place where people generally, and representatives of media, have right to be present, and where their presence historically has been thought to enhance integrity and quality of what takes place. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amends. 1, 6, 14.


[13] Constitutional Law 82(1)

92k82(1) Most Cited Cases

Constitution guarantees more than simply freedom from those abuses which led framers of constitution to single out particular rights. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.)


[14] Constitutional Law 82(3)

92k82(3) Most Cited Cases

Very purpose of First Amendment is to guarantee all facets of each right described. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amend. 1.


[15] Constitutional Law 82(1)

92k82(1) Most Cited Cases

Important but unarticulated rights have been found to share constitutional protection in common with explicit guarantees. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.)


[16] Constitutional Law 82(1)

92k82(1) Most Cited Cases

Fundamental rights, even though not expressly guaranteed, have been recognized as indispensable to enjoyment of rights explicitly defined. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.)


[17] Constitutional Law 82(6.1)

92k82(6.1) Most Cited Cases

(Formerly 92k82(6))

Right to attend criminal trials is implicit in guarantees of First Amendment. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amend. 1.
[18] Criminal Law 635

110k635 Most Cited Cases

Absent overriding interest articulated in findings, trial of criminal case must be open to public. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.)


[19] Criminal Law 635

110k635 Most Cited Cases

Where no findings to support closure of trial were made, no inquiry was made as to whether alternative solutions would have meant need to insure fairness, and there was no recognition of any constitutional right for public or press to attend trial, closure of trial was improper. (Per Chief Justice Burger, two Justices concurring, and four Justices concurring in the judgment.) U.S.C.A.Const. Amends. 1, 6, 14.



**2816 Syllabus [FN*]
FN* The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Lumber Co., 200 U.S. 321, 337, 26 S.Ct. 282, 287, 50 L.Ed. 499.

*555 At the commencement of a fourth trial on a murder charge (the defendant's conviction after the first trial having been reversed on appeal, and two subsequent retrials having ended in mistrials), the Virginia trial court granted defense counsel's motion that the trial be closed to the public without any objections having been made by the prosecutor or by appellants, a newspaper and two of its reporters who were present in the courtroom, defense counsel having stated that he did not "want any information being shuffled back and forth when we have a recess as to . . . who testified to what." Later that same day, however, the trial judge granted appellant's request for a hearing on a motion to vacate the closure order, and appellants' counsel contended that constitutional considerations mandated that before ordering closure the court should first decide that the defendant's rights could be protected in no other way. But the trial judge denied the motion, saying that if he felt that the defendant's rights were infringed in any way and others' rights were not overriden he was inclined to order closure, and ordered the trial to continue "with the press and public excluded." The next day, the court granted defendant's motion to strike the prosecution's evidence, excused the jury, and found the defendant not guilty. Thereafter, the court granted appellants' motion to intervene nunc pro tunc in the case, and the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed their mandamus and prohibition petitions and, finding no reversible error, denied their petition for appeal from the closure order.


Held: The judgment is reversed. Pp. 2821-2830; 2832-2839; 2839-2841; 2841-2842.
Reversed.
Mr. Chief Justice BURGER, joined by Mr. Justice WHITE and Mr. Justice STEVENS, concluded that the right of the public and press to attend criminal trials is guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Absent an overriding interest articulated in findings, the trial of a criminal case must be open to the public. Gannett Co. v. DePasquale, 443 U.S. 368, 99 S.Ct. 2898, 61 L.Ed.2d 608, distinguished. Pp. 2821-2830.
*556 a) The historical evidence of the evolution of the criminal trial in Anglo-American justice demonstrates conclusively that at the time this Nation's organic laws were adopted, criminal trials both here and in England had long been presumptively open, thus giving assurance that the proceedings were conducted fairly to all concerned and discouraging perjury, the misconduct of participants, or decisions based on secret bias or partiality. In addition, the significant community therapeutic value of public trials was recognized: when a shocking crime occurs, a community reaction of outrage and public protest often follows, and thereafter the open processes of justice serve an important prophylactic purpose, providing an outlet for community concern, hostility, and emotion. To work effectively, it is important that society's criminal process "satisfy the appearance of justice," Offutt v. United States, 348 U.S. 11, 14, 75 S.Ct. 11, 13, 99 L.Ed. 11 which can best be provided by allowing people to observe such process. From this unbroken, uncontradicted history, supported by reasons as valid today as in centuries past, it must be concluded that a presumption of openness inheres **2817 in the very nature of a criminal trial under this Nation's system of justice. Cf., e. g., Levine v. United States, 362 U.S. 610, 80 S.Ct. 1038, 4 L.Ed.2d 989. Pp. 2821-2827.
(b) The freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, expressly guaranteed by the First Amendment, share a common core purpose of assuring freedom of communication on matters relating to the functioning of government. In guaranteeing freedoms such as those of speech and press, the First Amendment can be read as protecting the right of everyone to attend trials so as to give meaning to those explicit guarantees; the First Amendment right to receive information and ideas means, in the context of trials, that the guarantees of speech and press, standing alone, prohibit government from summarily closing courtroom doors which had long been open to the public at the time the First Amendment was adopted. Moreover, the right of assembly is also relevant, having been regarded not only as an independent right but also as a catalyst to augment the free exercise of the other First Amendment rights with which it was deliberately linked by the draftsmen. A trial courtroom is a public place where the people generally--and representatives of the media--have a right to be present, and where their presence historically has been thought to enhance the integrity and quality of what takes place. Pp. 2827-2828.
(c) Even though the Constitution contains no provision which by its terms guarantees to the public the right to attend criminal trials, various fundamental rights, not expressly guaranteed, have been recognized as indispensable to the enjoyment of enumerated rights. The right to attend criminal trials is implicit in the guarantees of the First Amendments *557 without the freedom to attend such trials, which people have exercised for centuries, important aspects of freedom of speech and of the press could be eviscerated. Pp. 2828-2829.
(d) With respect to the closure order in this case, despite the fact that this was the accused's fourth trial, the trial judge made no findings to support closure; no inquiry was made as to whether alternative solutions would have met the need to ensure fairness; there was no recognition of any right under the Constitution for the public or press to attend the trial; and there was no suggestion that any problems with witnesses could not have been dealt with by exclusion from the courtroom or sequestration during the trial, or that sequestration of the jurors would not have guarded against their being subjected to any improper information. Pp. 2829-2830.
Mr. Justice BRENNAN, joined by Mr. Justice MARSHALL, concluded that the First Amendment--of itself and as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment--secures the public a right of access to trial proceedings, and that, without more, agreement of the trial judge and the parties cannot constitutionally close a trial to the public. Historically and functionally, open trials have been closely associated with the development of the fundamental procedure of trial by jury, and trial access assumes structural importance in this Nation's government of laws by assuring the public that procedural rights are respected and that justice is afforded equally, by serving as an effective restraint on possible abuse of judicial power, and by aiding the accuracy of the trial factfinding process. It was further concluded that it was not necessary to consider in this case what countervailing interests might be sufficiently compelling to reverse the presumption of openness of trials, since the Virginia statute involved-- authorizing trial closures at the unfettered discretion of the judge and parties--violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Pp. 2832-2839.
Mr. Justice STEWART concluded that the First and Fourteenth Amendments clearly give the press and the public a right of access to trials, civil as well as criminal; that such right is not absolute, since various considerations may sometimes justify limitations upon the unrestricted presence of spectators in the courtroom; but that in the present case the trial judge apparently gave no recognition to the right of representatives **2818 of the press and members of the public to be present at the trial. Pp. 2839-2841.
Mr. Justice BLACKMUN, while being of the view that Gannett Co. v. DePasquale, supra, was in error, both in its interpretation of the Sixth Amendment generally, and in its application to the suppression hearing *558 involved there, and that the right to a public trial is to be found in the Sixth Amendment, concluded, as a secondary position, that the First Amendment must provide some measure of protection for public access to the trial, and that here, by closing the trial, the trial judge abridged these First Amendment interests of the public. Pp. 2841-2842.
Laurence H. Tribe, Cambridge, Mass., for appellants.
Marshall Coleman, Atty. Gen., Richmond, Va., for appellees.
Mr. Chief Justice BURGER announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which Mr. Justice WHITE and Mr. Justice STEVENS joined.
The narrow question presented in this case is whether the right of the public and press to attend criminal trials is guaranteed under the United States Constitution.
*559 I

In March 1976, one Stevenson was indicted for the murder of a hotel manager who had been found stabbed to death on December 2, 1975. Tried promptly in July 1976, Stevenson was convicted of second-degree murder in the Circuit Court of Hanover County, Va. The Virginia Supreme Court reversed the conviction in October 1977, holding that a bloodstained shirt purportedly belonging to Stevenson had been improperly admitted into evidence. Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 237 S.E.2d 779.


Stevenson was retried in the same court. This second trial ended in a mistrial on May 30, 1978, when a juror asked to be excused after trial had begun and no alternate was available. [FN1]
FN1. A newspaper account published the next day reported the mistrial and went on to note that "[a] key piece of evidence in Stevenson's original conviction was a bloodstained shirt obtained from Stevenson's wife soon after the killing. The Virginia Supreme Court, however, ruled that the shirt was entered into evidence improperly." App. 34a.
A third trial, which began in the same court on June 6, 1978, also ended in a mistrial. It appears that the mistrial may have been declared because a prospective juror had read about Stevenson's previous trials in a newspaper and had told other prospective jurors about the case before the retrial began. See App. 35a-36a.
Stevenson was tried in the same court for a fourth time beginning on September 11, 1978. Present in the courtroom when the case was called were appellants Wheeler and McCarthy, reporters for appellant Richmond Newspapers, Inc. Before the trial began, counsel for the defendant moved that it be closed to the public:

"[T]here was this woman that was with the family of the deceased when we were here before. She had sat in the Courtroom. I would like to ask that everybody be excluded from the Courtroom because I don't want any information being shuffled back and forth when we have *560 a recess as to what--who testified to what." Tr. of Sept. 11, 1978 Hearing on Defendant's Motion to Close Trial to the Public 2-3.


The trial judge, who had presided over two of the three previous trials, asked if the prosecution had any objection to clearing the courtroom. The prosecutor stated he had no objection and would leave it to the discretion of the court. Id., at 4. Presumably referring to Va.Code § 19.2-266 (Supp.1980), the trial judge then announced: "[T]he statute gives me that power specifically and the defendant has made the motion." He then ordered "that the Courtroom be kept clear of all parties except the witnesses when they testify." Tr., supra, at **2819 4-5. [FN2] The record does not show that any objections to the closure order were made by anyone present at the time, including appellants Wheeler and McCarthy.
FN2. Virginia Code § 19.2-266 (Supp.1980) provides in part:

"In the trial of all criminal cases, whether the same be felony or misdemeanor cases, the court may, in its discretion, exclude from the trial any persons whose presence would impair the conduct of a fair trial, provided that the right of the accused to a public trial shall not be violated."


Later that same day, however, appellants sought a hearing on a motion to vacate the closure order. The trial judge granted the request and scheduled a hearing to follow the close of the day's proceedings. When the hearing began, the court ruled that the hearing was to be treated as part of the trial; accordingly, he again ordered the reporters to leave the courtroom, and they complied.
At the closed hearing, counsel for appellants observed that no evidentiary findings had been made by the court prior to the entry of its closure order and pointed out that the court had failed to consider any other, less drastic measures within its power to ensure a fair trial. Tr. of Sept. 11, 1978 Hearing on Motion to Vacate 11-12. Counsel for appellants argued that constitutional considerations mandated that before ordering closure, the court should first decide that the rights of the defendant could be protected in no other way.
*561 Counsel for defendant Stevenson pointed out that this was the fourth time he was standing trial. He also referred to "difficulty with information between the jurors," and stated that he "didn't want information to leak out," be published by the media, perhaps inaccurately, and then be seen by the jurors. Defense counsel argued that these things, plus the fact that "this is a small community," made this a proper case for closure. Id., at 16-18.
The trial judge noted that counsel for the defendant had made similar statements at the morning hearing. The court also stated:

"[O]ne of the other points that we take into consideration in this particular Courtroom is layout of the Courtroom. I think that having people in the Courtroom is distracting to the jury. Now, we have to have certain people in here and maybe that's not a very good reason. When we get into our new Court Building, people can sit in the audience so the jury can't see them. The rule of the Court may be different under those circumstances. . . ." Id., at 19.

The prosecutor again declined comment, and the court summed up by saying:

"I'm inclined to agree with [defense counsel] that, if I feel that the rights of the defendant are infringed in any way, [when] he makes the motion to do something and it doesn't completely override all rights of everyone else, then I'm inclined to go along with the defendant's motion." Id., at 20.

The court denied the motion to vacate and ordered the trial to continue the following morning "with the press and public excluded." Id., at 27; App. 21a.
What transpired when the closed trial resumed the next day was disclosed in the following manner by an order of the court entered September 12, 1978:

"[I]n the absence of the jury, the defendant by counsel *562 made a Motion that a mis-trial be declared, which motion was taken under advisement.

"At the conclusion of the Commonwealth's evidence, the attorney for the defendant moved the Court to strike the Commonwealth's evidence on grounds stated to the record, which Motion was sustained by the Court.

"And the jury having been excused, the Court doth find the accused NOT GUILTY of Murder, as charged in the Indictment, and he was allowed to depart." Id., at 22a. [FN3]


FN3. At oral argument, it was represented to the Court that tapes of the trial were available to the public as soon as the trial terminated. Tr. of Oral Arg. 36.
  1   2   3   4


The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page