Page 18-Friday, August 1, 1980-TheMichigon-Doily
WASHINGTON (AP)-The Justice Department
proposed rules yesterday for federal lawyers which
would put up more barriers to closing trials than
recent Supreme Court decisions have.
The proposed rules would cover all lawyers
working for or with the Justice Department and
would apply to all federal, civil, or criminal trials,
plus pretrial evidence hearings and pleas and senten-
THE RULES WOULD prevent government
lawyers from requesting or agreeing to the closing of
any trial or judicial proceeding without the express
consent of either the associate or deputy attorney
general. The guidelines set up a sixfold test to ensure
that closings occur only when "plainly essential to
the interests of justice."
"These guidelines constitute an exercise of self-
restraint," said Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti.
"We are saying that even where the law would permit
closure, we will not approve unless it is clearly
necessary to serve the ends of justice. This depar-
tment believes in an open judicial system."
Considerable controversy over when the press and
public can be excluded from trials has grown out of
two Supreme Court decisions in the past year.
IN JULY 1979, in the case of Gannett vs. DePas-
quale, the high court gave judges virtually absolute
discretion to close traditionally open pretrial
proceedings if the defense requests that. In that case,
which stemmed from a Rochester, N.Y. murder trial,
the court held that Sixth Amendment guarantees of
open trials apply only to the defendant, not to the
press or public at large.
But this July, in the case of Richmond newspapers
vs. Virginia, the court held for the first time that the
First Amendment protects the right to gather news at
trials themselves. The court held that judges must
have "overriding" reasons for closing trials, must
state them, and must restrict the closing as much as
possible, but the Supreme Court did not further define
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State supreme court
favors open trials
LANSING (UPI) - The Michigan
Supreme Court, acting in a Detroit sex
crime case, ruled a defendant has no
constitutional right to a private trial.
Criminal trials should be closed only
when absolutely necessary to ensure
justice for the accused, the high court
THE RULING came on an appeal by
the Detroit Free Press of a Detroit
Recorders Court ruling granting a
defense request to close the trial of a
high school teacher accused of commit-
ting second-degree criminal sexual
.onduct with a 14-year-old student.
The lower court judge ruled the con-
stitutional public trial rule can be
waived by defendants since it is
designed strictly for their protection.
The teacher subsequently was found
THE HIGH court unanimously
agreed the trial should have been open,
but there was some judicial bickering
An opinion signed by four of the seven
justices cited common law tradition in
concluding the public's right to know is
at the root of open trial guarantees. The
press serves a vital function in keeping
the public informed.
"We have concluded that an accused
has no right to exclude the public from
a trial by affirmative waiver," said the
opinion signed by Justices Blair Moody,
Thomas Kavanagh, G. Mennen
Williams, and John Fitzgerald.
Defendants seeking to close a trial
must show a "substantial probability"
that public proceedings would
prejudice their case and that "closure
will be effective in dealing with the
danger and that no alternatives to
closure exist that would protect the fair
trial right," they said.
No such proof was offered in the
Detroit case, the court said.
Chief Justice Mary Coleman and
Justice Charles Levin concurred in a
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