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Unformatted text preview: G LOBER N EWSPAPER CO. v. SUPER IOR COURT (1982) T H E FACTS: To protect underage victims of sex crimes a Massachusetts L aw requires t r ial judges to exclude the press and general public from the courtroom during the testimony of the victim if the victim is under 18. T H E ISSUE: T he question is whether or not the press and general public have a r ight to access criminal t rials even in a case involving a sex crime against a minor. T H E H OL D I NG: I n a 6-3 decision, the Court held the law unconstitutional. T H E RAT IONALE: J ustice Brennan delivered the majority opinion saying t hat the Richmond Newspapers case established the r ight of the press and general public to have access to criminal t r ials because it has historically been open to the press and because access to criminal t r ials plays significant role in the functioning of the judicial process and the government as a whole. W hile the state has a compelling in terest to protect the minor involved, it does not justify the m andatory closure rule. The court can determine on a case-by-case basis whether or not closure of the t r ial is necessary to protect t he minor. The Commonwealth also claimed that the law will help more m inors come forward and provide accurate testimony but this claim does not j ustify the law because no empirical support for that claim has been provided. Justice Burger and Justice Rehnquist dissented saying that historically not a ll t r ials have been open to the public, especially those involving sexual assaults of minors. Also, the press and public still have access to t r ial t ranscripts and other sources about the victim’s testimony, including the i dentity of the victim. The law was meant to protect the minor from the embarrassment of giving details of the crime in front of a large, unfamiliar audience. ...
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- Fall '08