RICHMOND NEWSPAPERS INC. v. VIRGINIA
After a series of mistrials in a murder case in the state of Virginia, a trial judge closed the trial to the public and the media. Defense counsel brought the closure motion; the prosecution did not object. Two reporters of Richmond Newspapers, Inc. challenged the judge's action.
Did the closure of the trial to the press and public violate the First Amendment or the Sixth Amendment?
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly
In a 7-to-1 decision, the Court held that the right to attend criminal trials was "implicit in the guarantees of the First Amendment." The Court held that the First Amendment encompassed not only the right to speak but also the freedom to listen and to receive information and ideas. The Court also noted that the First Amendment guaranteed the right of assembly in public places such as courthouses. The Court emphasized that "certain unarticulated rights" were implicit in enumerated guarantees and were often "indispensable to the enjoyment of rights explicitly defined."