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.
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PREVAILS BEFORE WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT IN 'RIGHT TO PUBLIC TRIAL VIOLATIONS' CLAIM BROUGHT BY ATTEMPTED MURDERER
Feb 28, 2009; MADISON, Wis., Feb. 27 -- The Wisconsin Department of Justice issued the following news release: The Wisconsin Supreme Court...