First, Sixth Amendments Require Allowing TV Coverage of Derek Chauvin Trial
The Sixth Amendment Public Trial Clause lets defendants insist that their trials be open to the public, and the Court has interpreted the First Amendment as generally requiring such openness even when defendants are willing to waive their Public Trial Clause rights. But courts have mostly resisted the claim that either provision requires televised trials; it’s enough, courts say, that the trials be open to members of the public (including the media, which will then write about the trial for the benefit of those people who can’t see it directly).
But Wednesday’s decision in State v. Chauvin, Minnesota state Judge Peter A. Cahill took a different approach, because of the epidemic:
In the past, failures to restrict public and media access inside the courtrooms of high-profile trials resulted in media action that was so intrusive and disruptive that defendants’ rights to a fair trial were violated. While the right of the press and public to attend criminal trials is sacrosanct, and carries with it the right to report what has occurred during the trial, the right does not include a right to “telecast” the actual proceedings. Estes v. Texas (1965).
Against this historical background, the Minnesota Supreme Court promulgated the current version of Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 4, which limits audio and visual media coverage of criminal proceedings. While that rule sets out a general rule of prohibition, it also allows for the visual and/or audio recording and reproduction of trial proceedings with the consent of all parties. Even with the consent of all parties, visual or audio recording of trial proceedings is limited.
Normally, this rule can be applied without concern that it will impinge on the right to a public trial or the right of access held by the public and press. Spectators may freely attend trials, and the usual trial recei
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