The United States Constitution grants criminal defendants numerous protections and rights. For example, the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution affords people charged with crimes the right to a public trial. If the right is violated and a criminal defendant is tried in a closed courtroom, it may constitute grounds for dismissal. Recently, a Michigan court discussed the right to a public trial and what evidence a defendant must offer to prove their rights were violated. If you were charged with a crime, it is important to understand your rights, and you should speak to a trusted Michigan criminal defense lawyer.
The Facts of the Case
It is reported that the defendant was charged with multiple crimes following a shooting death. The case proceeded to trial, and during a recess, a juror came into contact with the victim’s child’s mother in the hallway. The trial court subsequently removed the woman and all spectators from the courtroom and ordered them not to return for the remainder of the trial. The jury convicted the defendant of multiple felonies. He then appealed and moved to remand the matter for an evidentiary hearing, arguing in part that his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial had been violated.
It is reported that the intermediate appellate court granted his motion. Following the evidentiary hearing, he filed a motion for a new trial which was denied on the grounds that the courtroom was not locked, it was merely cleared, and that even if it was closed, he waived the right to a public trial by failing to object. He then appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. Continue Reading ›