WALLER v. GEORGIA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
83-321
Petitioner 
Waller
Respondent 
Georgia
Consolidation 
No. 83-322
Opinion 
Advocates
(on behalf of Petitioners)
(on behalf of Respondent)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Acting under court authorization, Georgia police placed wiretaps on a number of phones and conducted searches pursuant to an investigation of illegal gambling. A number of people were indicted as a result of the investigation. The defendants moved to suppress the wiretaps and the evidence seized during the searches. Because the wiretap evidence related to alleged offenders not then on trial, Georgia moved to close to the public any hearing on the motion to suppress. A trial court upheld Georgia's move to close the hearing.

Question 

Did the closure of the hearing violate the right to a public trial under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Waller, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 6: Other Sixth Amendment Provisions

In a unanimous decision, the Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a public trial applied to suppression hearings. The Court found that the "aims and interests" of public trials were "no less pressing in a hearing to suppress wrongfully seized evidence." The Court noted that the presumption of openness for trials could be overcome only by overriding interests based on findings that closure was absolutely necessary to preserve higher values and was narrowly tailored to serve those interests.

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WALLER v. GEORGIA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_83_321>.
WALLER v. GEORGIA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_83_321 (last visited November 10, 2014).
"WALLER v. GEORGIA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_83_321.