Tuesday, October 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Closing court is wrong and pointless

By
From page A12 | February 02, 2014 |

The issue: Open access is a fundamental American right

Understandably, defense lawyers seek every advantage they can in order to secure a not-guilty verdict. But in the case of Daniel Marsh, the teenager accused in the gruesome slayings of Oliver “Chip” Northup and his wife Claudia Maupin, the defense has overreached by seeking to deprive the public of access to court proceedings in order to defend the young man from revelations that are already public.

MARSH’S ATTORNEY, Rob Johnson, filed a motion to exclude the teenager’s alleged confession to police, and he wants the hearing on that motion closed. The defense asserts that the publicity surrounding the case compromises Marsh’s right to a fair trial. Not only does he want the suppression hearing closed, he is demanding that the transcript of the hearing be sealed and a gag order imposed on participants.

Federal and state courts have consistently ruled that the public’s right of access is an important part of American democracy, and guaranteed by the First Amendment. Judges have ruled over and over that any closure must be “essential to preserve higher values” (that is, the integrity of the verdict) and narrowly tailored to achieve that end.

As long as other remedies exist to offset any potentially prejudicial information — jury screening, admonitions, instructions and even change of venue — the public’s interest in open proceedings must take precedence.

IN THE CASE of suppression hearings, the public’s interest is especially important because the procedures often center around the conduct of police and prosecutors. If the defense is going to make and substantiate allegations of official misconduct by public servants, the citizens of Yolo County need to know about it.

In Marsh’s case, not only is the level of publicity nowhere near enough to compromise his right to a fair trial, the very remedy the defense seeks is impossible to grant, because the confession is already public. Judge Timothy Fall, the first of three judges to get this case, ruled against an almost-identical motion in the preliminary hearing phase, and the confession was entered into evidence. That particular cat is out of the bag.

NOW, THE DECISION comes to Judge David Reed. He has before him a straightforward set of circumstances backed by precedent going all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Marsh’s right to a fair trial will not be compromised by an open hearing; in fact, it cannot be compromised.

This maneuver by the defense wastes the court’s time and it wastes the people’s time. It will be in everyone’s interest to move forward.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
So much more than a cute baby store

By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suspected arson fires worry neighbors, firefighters

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Winters homicide case enters jury-selection phase

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
Fill the Boot for the hungry

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Existing home sales rise in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Democrats love seeing minimum wage on the ballot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Apply now for community mediation training

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Paws for Thought: Pets for Vets: matches made in heaven

By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘Tokyo Kill’ author will visit bookstore

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Sierra Club gathers for morning walks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
DPNS has play group, preschool openings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Yolo Knitters Guild plans fall meetings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Local farm products found at hospital market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Tax tips offered for sole proprietors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Beer dinner set on Co-op patio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Walkin’ the Dawg through the park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
 
Essay contest winners will be honored Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Library hosts after-hours teen movie nights

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

First-time home buyers get free advice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Psychiatric clinic hosts open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Forum eyes impacts of raising the local minimum wage

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
NAMI-Yolo family support group meets Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

To save the birds, look to the fish

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Birding field trip planned Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Forum

Ready to go, whatever happens

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Where there’s a will …

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

She’s innovative, passionate

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
An accidental fan becomes a baseball devotee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

U.N. steps up to lead Ebola response

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

These three are the best

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Sunder has bold vision

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Archer, Nolan are my picks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

Villegas wonderstrike powers Devils

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS golfers take the title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Devil defense regresses in football loss

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

 
UCD’s Wegener is the engine that drives the train

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Top-end tennis talent helps DHS girls grab a win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Junior Blue Devils: Regular slate ends with 2 Davis teams playoff bound

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

After running the gridiron gauntlet, can UCD regroup?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Stories on Stage Davis presents tales by Lescroart, Montieth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Peggy Belenis Swisher

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7