Category
Court Access
Motion hearing regarding access to transcript and interview jurors, in Atlanta

Lawyer Says He Released Videos in Georgia’s 2020 Election Interference Case

The videos were part of evidence, known as discovery, that had been provided to all of the defendants and their attorneys. But they were not publicly available.

Read More

Courthouse News Sues Idaho Court, Pushes for Same-day Access to Court Documents

Courthouse News Service, a national news publication that reports on state and federal level legal proceedings, is suing an Idaho court administrator for refusing to provide reporters with same-day access to legal proceedings. 

Read More

fourth circuit

Fourth Circuit Revives Court Access Lawsuit in Maryland

The Fourth Circuit just revived a lawsuit challenging a Maryland statute that prohibits individuals from broadcasting courtroom audio transcripts. Says "lawfully obtained recordings cannot constitutionally be punished ‘absent a need to further a state interest of the highest order.'"

Read More

Zoom Hearing

Massachusetts High Court Confronts First and Sixth Amendment Concerns Regarding a Virtual Suppression Hearing

On May 5th, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court — the highest court in Massachusetts — ruled that a virtual suppression hearing conducted via Zoom violated neither the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights nor the public’s First Amendment right to access court proceedings. Nevertheless, the court reversed the trial judge’s ruling that had rejected the defendant’s motion for a continuance.

Read More

Edward Snowden

Civil Liberties Groups Petition Supreme Court to Unseal “Secret” Surveillance Court Rulings

Most court opinions are made publicly available under the First Amendment so that people can understand what the law is and have trust in the judicial process. That is not the case for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) which decides when government agencies can spy on suspected foreign agents, and can sometimes target American citizens as well.

Read More

Court Access

Teacher Guide: Access to Courts and Court Records

Public access to the judicial system is a necessary element in a constitutional democracy. The idea behind “We the People”—the notion that the people are sovereign—assumes that the people govern their institutions. This teachers guide discusses access to courts, including how court access is faring during the COVID-19 crisis; the development of access to criminal trials; the importance of both the First Amendment right of access and the Sixth Amendment right to a public trial; the clash between the First Amendment and the Sixth Amendment concerns over a fair trial; the qualified right of access to civil court proceedings; the dangers of “secret justice”; and cameras in the courts.

Read More

floyd

Watch: Open Courts & Racial Justice

The world will be watching when the trial over George Floyd's killing opens this month. Listen to a panel discussion on how the First Amendment’s promise of public trials is playing out in an American courtroom amid the pandemic.

Read More

Federal Appeals Court Finds Connecticut Law Mandating Closure of Transferred Juvenile Cases Unconstitutional

The Hartford Courant has a qualified First Amendment right of access to the criminal proceedings of juveniles who are transferred to adult criminal court, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. In July 2019, Connecticut passed a law that increased confidentiality for those cases transferred from juvenile courts to adult courts.

Read More