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Oklahoma Courts Increasingly Closing Courts to the Public

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  1. Freedom of Information
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The Tulsa World reported that courts in Oklahoma are increasingly closing public access to criminal hearings and records. The paper said four of the eight special mental health courts close all hearings and three of seven county drug courts closed all hearings. Three others closed some hearings. A number of judges said the closure was consistent with privacy guidelines established under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. However, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said courts are not covered by HIPAA. (9/4/07)