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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Superior Court
Globe Newspaper Co.
(Argued the cause for the appellant)
(Argued the cause for the appellee)
Facts of the Case 

A Massachusetts law required trial courts to exclude members of the press and public from certain cases involving sexual offenses and testimony of victims less than eighteen years old. In a trial involving a male who was accused of raping three minors, the court, acting in reference to the Massachusetts statute, conducted a closed trial.


Did the Massachusetts law violate the First Amendment's freedom of press guarantee as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment?

Decision: 6 votes for Globe Newspaper Co., 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

The Court held that the Massachusetts law violated the First Amendment. Recalling the Court's holding in Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia (1980), Justice Brennan reviewed important historical and judicial reasons why access to criminal trials is "properly afforded" First Amendment protection. When the court denies access, argued Brennan, the only justification is to serve a compelling state interest. The Court found no such interest here. First, protecting the psychological well-being of a minor, arguably a compelling interest, conceded Brennan, "does not justify a mandatory closure rule" as circumstances can vary greatly in this type of case. Second, there was no convincing empirical or logical evidence to prove that victims would be more likely to come forward if the press and public were excluded from trials of this nature.

Cite this Page
GLOBE NEWSPAPER CO. v. SUPERIOR COURT. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <>.
GLOBE NEWSPAPER CO. v. SUPERIOR COURT, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 26, 2015).
"GLOBE NEWSPAPER CO. v. SUPERIOR COURT," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015,