Law: Confusion in the Courts

Gannett vs. DePasquale keeps everyone guessing

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last July in Gannett vs. DePasquale that criminal proceedings could be closed to the public, at least under some circumstances, court watchers and the press had difficulty understanding just what the decision meant.

So have the judges who must apply the decision in lower courts. As of late August, they had agreed to half of some 50 requests to close courtrooms. A few judges have barred the press but not the public; others have closed off not only pretrial hearings but actual trials and sentencings.

In New Hampshire last month, Superior Court...

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