Definitions

Public_trial

Public trial

Public trial or open trial is a trial open to public, as opposed to the secret trial. The term should not be confused with show trial.

United States

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution establishes the right of the accused to a public trial.

The right to a public trial is not absolute. Openness may be overridden by the motion of closure. Trials may be reasonably regulated to avoid publicity that could prejudice a jury or harm the well-being of participants. Closures are decided case-by-case by the judge basing on substantial or legitimate public interest. Examples include organized crime cases (overall security concerns), rape cases (decency concerns) and juvenile cases. "

Trials may be closed at the behest of the government only if it shows "an overriding interest based on findings that closure is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest." The accused may also request a closure of the trial; in such a case, it must be demonstrated that "first, there is a substantial probability that the defendant's right to a fair trial will be prejudiced by publicity that closure would prevent, and second, reasonable alternatives to closure cannot adequately protect the defendant's fair trial rights.

Soviet Union

In Soviet Union the terms "open trial" (открытый процесс) and "public trial" (публичный процесс) differed. The term "open trial" implied the possibility for public to be present at the hearings. The term "public trial" implied the purposeful presentation of the process to wide public. Public trials were usually widely discussed in media and hearings were often arranged in larger auditoria. While the Soviet public trials are commonly associated with Stalin era show trials, such as Moscow Trials, nevertheless in Russian culture the term "public trial" did not acquire negative connotations, despite the apparent attributes of a show, primarily because the publicity of any information in pre-glasnost era was severely limited by the Soviet state. The term "show trial" corresponds to Russian "показной процесс", (pokaznoy process).

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