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Reporters kicked out of courtroom during opening statements

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  1. Freedom of Information
Reporters kicked out of courtroom during opening statements 03/09/98 CALIFORNIA-- In late February, a state court judge in Los Angeles…

Reporters kicked out of courtroom during opening statements

03/09/98

CALIFORNIA– In late February, a state court judge in Los Angeles excluded reporters, but not the public, from two opening statements in a high-profile murder trial. The judge rescinded the order the following day, but insisted that his decision to close the courtroom to the news media was proper.

The three defendants, who are being judged by separate juries, are on trial for the 1996 killing of Haing Ngor, who won an Academy Award for his performance in The Killing Fields.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J.D. Smith directed news reporters in the courtroom not to publish information revealed during opening statements in order to prevent jurors from hearing evidence that might not be presented to them in court. When the Associated Press told Smith it could not comply with his request, he ordered the news media to leave the courtroom.