01A

A. The First Amendment presumption of access

A. The First Amendment presumption of access

Overview

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that both the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution grant the public and the press a presumptive right of access to criminal proceedings.  See U.S. Const. Amend. I; Pa. Const. Art. I, §11 (“All courts shall be open.”); Commonwealth v. Berrigan, 509 Pa. 118, 501 A.2d 226, 232 (1985) (“[T]he First Amendment to the Federal Constitution is broad enough to encompass the right of access to criminal trials to the public and media.”); Commonwealth v. Hayes, 489 Pa. 419, 414 A.2d 318, 321 (1980) (“[I]n addition to providing a right to the accused for ‘a speedy public trial,’ Art.

A. The First Amendment presumption of access

Overview

Maryland

The Maryland Court of Appeals has recognized the public’s right of access to criminal trials and criminal pretrial proceedings predicated on the First Amendment and on the state constitutional analogue, Article 40 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Buzbee v. Journal Newspapers, Inc., 297 Md. 68, 76, 465 A.2d 426 (1983); see Patuxent Publ’g Corp. v. State, 48 Md. App. 689, 429 A.2d 554 (Ct. Spec. App. 1981) (First Amendment right applies to pretrial “gag order” hearing); see also Hearst Corp. v. State, 60 Md. App. 651, 657, 484 A.2d 292, 295 (Ct. Spec. App. 1984) (right to intervene to oppose closing of court file in criminal case was grounded in the First Amendment). While the Court of Appeals has never considered the question of whether the First Amendment right applies outside the context of criminal court proceedings, Baltimore Sun Co. v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, 359 Md.

A. The First Amendment presumption of access

Overview

Kansas

Closure of Kansas court proceedings is allowed “‘only if (i) the dissemination of information from the pretrial proceeding and its record would create a clear and present danger to the fairness of the trial, and (ii) the prejudicial effect of such information on trial fairness cannot be avoided by any reasonable alternative means.”’  Kansas City Star Co. v. Fossey, 630 P.2d 1176, 1182 (Kan. 1981), quoting Fair Trial and Free Press: Standard 8-3.2 of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Association Standards for Criminal Justice (August, 1978).

The state supreme court said:

A. The First Amendment presumption of access

Overview

Georgia

The Supreme Court of Georgia has consistently recognized that the public and press have a presumptive First Amendment right of access to judicial proceedings in criminal cases. See Rockdale Citizen Publishing Co. v. State, 266 Ga. 579, 581 (1996) (“We must do our very best to hold fast to the values embodied by the First Amendment even in extreme and painful cases, because we cannot suspend it and remain all that we strive to be.”). In R.W. Page Corp. v. Lumpkin, 249 Ga.

A. The First Amendment presumption of access

Overview

North Carolina

In a civil right of access context, the North Carolina Supreme Court has applied by analogy U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the First Amendment presumption of access in criminal cases—i.e., a heightened standard of scrutiny in favor of disclosure absent a compelling public interest. See Virmani v. Presbyterian Health Servs. Corp., 350 N.C.449, 481-82 (1999).