A. Fair trial rights


In Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555, 580 (1980) and subsequent cases, the Court recognized that the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial can sometimes overcome the presumption of openness. But it added that “although the Sixth Amendment guarantees the accused a right to a public trial, it does not give a right to a private trial.” Id. Because “[t]here was no suggestion that any problems with witnesses could not have been dealt with by their exclusion from the courtroom or their sequestration during the trial” or that “sequestration of the jurors would not have guarded against their being subjected to any improper information,” the fair trial right could not trump the presumption of access.


See State ex rel. Pulitzer, Inc. v. Autrey, 19 S.W.3d 710, 713 (Mo. App. 2000) (“While it is clear the public has a right of access to criminal proceedings, the Supreme Court has held that right is qualified and must be carefully balanced with the defendant's absolute Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.”)