C. Criminal trials

Overview

The constitutional presumption of access extends to trials themselves. In Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555, 573 (1980) (plurality opinion), the court found that “a presumption of openness inheres in the very nature of a criminal trial under our system of justice.” In Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 457 U.S. 596, 602‑03 (1982), the Supreme Court recognized a First Amendment access right and struck down a statute that required “the exclusion of the press and general public during the testimony of a minor victim in a sex-offense trial.” It added that the presumption of public access “does not mean, however, that for purposes of this inquiry the court cannot protect the minor victim by denying these representatives the opportunity to confront or cross-examine the victim, or by denying them access to sensitive details concerning the victim and the victim’s future testimony. Such discretion is consistent with the traditional authority of trial judges to conduct in camera conferences.” Id. at 609 n.25.

6th Cir.