Brief Fact Summary. Two newsmen, who were closed out of a criminal trial, brought suit seeking a declaration of their rights to attend the trial under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution).
Synopsis of Rule of Law. This case created a brightline rule, that without proper justification, a reporter cannot be kept out of a criminal trial.
Issue. This case considered whether the freedom of the press necessarily carries with it a right to attend criminal trials and a right of access to the trial itself, in pursuit of information.
Held. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) held that a right to attend a criminal trial was implicit in the guarantees of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
In supporting its holding, the Supreme Court extended the freedoms associated with the First Amendment of the Constitution to include a freedom of communication on matters relating to the functioning of the government. The judicial process, in itself, is a function of government and thus, to deny press access to a trial is to deny the right to speak and publish concerning the events at trial.
The question in a particular case is whether that control is exerted so as not to deny or unwarrantedly abridge the opportunities for the communication of thought and the discussion of public questions immemorially associated with resort to public places.View Full Point of Law