The public and the press have a limited right of access to court proceedings and records. The right of access to jury elections and pre-trial conferences soon followed – in Press-Enterprise Co. v. California Superior Court (1984) and Press-Enterprise Co. v. California Superior Court (1986) – and the Court affirmed the right to participate in preliminary trials in El Vocero de Puerto Rico v. Puerto Rico (1993). Before concluding the proceedings, the court of first instance must exhaust all reasonable alternatives to dismissal and draw concrete conclusions detailing the need for such withdrawal. Although the Supreme Court has not yet directly addressed the issue, most federal district and district courts have ruled that the First Amendment right of access does not extend to audio-visual equipment in the courtroom. A victim in criminal proceedings cannot decide whether the person provisionally indicted should go to court. This is a decision for the Public Prosecutor`s Office.
If the prosecution does not determine that there is a basis for formal charges in the case, you will be notified as a victim. You can appeal against such a decision of the Public Prosecutor`s Office. If you have a lawyer, he or she can tell you more about your options for filing such complaints. You will also receive instructions on how to file a complaint as well as the decision of the Public Prosecutor`s Office. You can read more about lawyers here. Back to criminal trial The Committee of Reporters on Freedom of the Press publishes the Compendium of Public Hearings as a general guide on court access issues with additional information specific to each federal state and county. Although state and lower federal courts have ruled that a presumption of transparency generally applies in both civil and criminal law contexts, civil proceedings may be dismissed for a variety of reasons, including the need to protect the privacy of the parties, confidential business information, or trade secrets. Although police may have provisionally charged a suspect in a case, prosecutors may decide not to bring formal charges against the person. This means that the case will not go to court. This usually occurs in cases where prosecutors do not believe a trial would result in a conviction, that is, in cases where the evidence is not sufficiently strong. The Supreme Court has never recognized a right of access to civil proceedings, although several state and lower federal courts have. Most agreed that transparency in civil processes is also necessary to promote free participation and communication in a democratic society.
Depending on the circumstances, the case may be dismissed to protect an accused`s right to a fair trial by an impartial jury or to protect the privacy of witnesses, jurors or victims. A case involving less serious crimes may also end with the payment of a fixed sentence by the accused or, in some cases, notification of the dropping of charges. If the charges are dropped, the prosecution believes the accused person is guilty, but will not take the case to court. The Supreme Court also failed to recognize the public`s right of access to juvenile proceedings. These procedures are traditionally closed to the public and remain so. However, some state courts have granted access to certain juvenile trials, particularly if the defendant is charged with murder or another serious crime. These courts usually apply a balancing test in which the public interest is balanced against that of the child. In other words, although the public has the right to participate in negotiations, it does not have the right to see them on television. However, many state courts routinely allow television cameras to record and broadcast the trial, although the trial judge has broad discretion to set rules for the recordings to ensure they do not interfere with the defendant`s right to a fair trial or interfere with the trial. The Supreme Court first ruled in 1980 that the press and the public had the right to participate in criminal trials. The law is considered presumptuous, but not absolute.
The Court did not directly consider whether the First Amendment right of access extends to the use of audio-visual equipment in the courtroom, although states may enact their own laws on the subject. This photo shows cameras in a criminal trial in Nebraska for the first time in 2008. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, courtesy of The Associated Press.) Hardaway, Robert, and Douglas B. Tumminello. « Pretrial Publicity in Criminal Cases of National Notoriety: Constructing a Remedy for the Remediless Wrong. » American University Law Review 46 (1996): 39-90. If a proceeding passes these criteria, there is a right of public access under the First Amendment. However, this right is not absolute. It is simply a presumption of access.
The presumption may be rebutted by showing that the closure of the proceedings preserves an overriding interest and that the conclusion is closely tailored to that interest. Committee of Journalists on Freedom of the Press. Compendium of Public Hearings. If no formal charges are laid, a case can be closed in several ways. Although the First Amendment does not explicitly mention the right of access, the Supreme Court has held that the right to participate in criminal proceedings is implicit in freedom of expression and serves an important function in a democratic society by improving trial fairness and attendance. Smolla, Rodney A. « Press Access to Information, Institutions and Events – Juvenile Procedures. » Smolla and Never on freedom of expression. Vol. 2.
New York: Clark Boardman Callaghan, 2006, para. 25:11. Smolla, Rodney A. « People`s Right to Know: Transparency in Government Institutions. » Documents of democracy.