Washington

D. Still cameras

Overview

Washington

Washington courts have upheld prohibitions on photographing juvenile witnesses without their consent. See State v. Russell, 172 P.3d 361 (Wash. Ct. App. 2007).

A. Authorization

Overview

Washington

Broadcasting a trial does not infringe on a criminal defendant’s due process rights, unless he can show specific prejudice. See State v. Wixon, 30 Wash. App. 63, 631 P.2d 1033 (Wash. Ct. App. 1981). 

C. Competency and commitment proceedings

Overview

Washington

Once competency records become judicial records, they become subject to the constitutional presumption of access. Particular information may be redacted to protect privacy interests. See State v. Chen, 178 Wash. 2d 350 (2013).

Commitment proceedings with public interest have also been help open. See, e.g., In re Young, 18 Media L. Rep. 1887 (Wash. Super. Ct. 1991).

C. Other proceedings involving minors

Overview

Washington

Juvenile proceedings are not required to be open under the state constitution. See In re Lewis, 51 Wn.2d 193 (1957). In Seattle Times Co. v. Benton County, 661 P.2d 964 (Wash. 1983), the Supreme Court reversed an order denying a newspaper permission to inspect juvenile records under a statute permitting access for legitimate research.

 

B. Dependency

Overview

Washington

Under RCW 13.34.110 and 13.50, juvenile dependency proceedings and records are confidential. Appellate proceedings are not covered by these statutes, and may only be closed if there are compelling circumstances. See In re: J.B.S., 856 P.2d 694 (Wash. 1993).

C. Jury records

Overview

Washington

Juror questionnaires are not presumptively open to the public, or the criminal defendant. See State v. Beskurt, 293 P.3d 1159 (Wash. 2013). 

A. Access to voir dire

Overview

Washington

In re Personal Restraint of Orange, 100 P.3d 291 (Wash. 2004). Convicted murderer filed a personal restraint petition before the state Supreme Court claiming the trial court violated his constitutional right to a public trial by closing the courtroom to the public during voir dire. Reasoning that a trial court may only restrict public or press access to any portion of a criminal trial upon a showing that there is a serious and imminent threat to a compelling interest that can only be protected by closure, the Supreme Court rejected the trial court’s articulated basis for closing the voir dire. Space limitations and the trial court’s vague reference to unspecified security concerns did not satisfy the requirement for a showing of serious or imminent threat to a compelling interest.

E. Discovery materials and motions

Overview

Washington

Civil deposition transcripts and other discovery documents are typically not part of the court record, and therefore are not accessible by the public and press. See King v. Olympic Pipe Line Co., 28 Media L. Rep. 2278 (Wash. Sup. Ct. 2000).

D. Dispositive motions and records

Overview

Washington

Summary judgment papers in Washington are presumed open. They may be closed serious and imminent harm outweighs the public’s interest in access. See Hutchison v. Kiro, Inc., 37 Media L. Rep. 2307 (Wash. Super. Ct. 2009).

D. Warrants, wiretaps and related materials

Overview

Washington

Search warrants and accompanying affidavits are presumed open unless a law enforcement or privacy interest amounts to “good cause” for closure under the common law. See Washington v. Bews, 20 Media L. Rep. 1102 (Wash. 1992); Seattle Times Co. v. Eberharter, 105 Wash.2d 144, 713 P.2d 710 (Wash. 1986); Cowles Publishing Co. v. Murphy, 96 Wash. 2d 584, 637 P.2d 966 (Wash. 1981); Washington v. Gutierrez, 1993 WL 568713 (Wash. Super. Ct. 1993).