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United States v. Mohammed Hamzah Khan

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  1. Court Access
A 19-year-old American, Mohammed Hamzah Khan, was arrested as he tried to fly from the United States to Turkey (ultimately…

A 19-year-old American, Mohammed Hamzah Khan, was arrested as he tried to fly from the United States to Turkey (ultimately to go to Iraq or Syria), and he was charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorist organizations. The government moved to have Khan’s detention hearing closed to the public, because privacy interests of third-party minors would be implicated. The government filed its motion and brief under seal, so the precise justification to close the hearing was unknown. The Reporters Committee wrote a letter to express concern about closing the detention hearing, arguing that there is a well-established First Amendment right of access to preliminary proceedings in criminal cases, which may only be overcome by an overriding interest based on findings that closure was essential to preserve higher values and was narrowly tailored to serve that interest. The judge then denied the government’s motion for partial closure, finding that the government’s asserted interest was not sufficient to override the guarantee of a public trial.

United States v. Mohammed Hamzah Khan