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32. Public Trial

SCOTUS delves into structural error

Weaver v. Massachusetts, USSC No. 16-240, 2017 WL 2674153 (June 22, 2017); affirming Commonwealth v. Weaver, 54 N.E.3d 495 (Mass. 2016); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) Members of the public–specifically, Kentel Weaver’s family–were excluded from the overcrowded courtroom during jury selection for his trial. Violations of the Sixth Amendment right to public… Read More

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State v. Nancy J. Pinno & State v. Travis J. Seaton, 2014 WI 74, 7/18/14, on certification from the court of appeals, and affirming the circuit court’s orders denying postconviction relief; majority opinion by Justice Prosser; case activity: Pinno; Seaton Deciding an issue left open by State v. Ndina, 2009 WI 21, ¶¶34-38, 315 Wis. 2d… Read More

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court of appeals certification request; certification granted 2/25/13; case activity (Seaton); case activity (Pinno) Issue Presented (from Certification):  Is the failure to object to the closure of a public trial to be analyzed upon appellate review under the “forfeiture standard” or the “waiver standard”? As suggested, in each of these consolidated cases the trial judge barred the… Read More

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US Supreme  Court decision Public Trial – Closing Courtroom for Voir Dire Sixth Amendment right to a public trial in criminal cases extends to jury selection phase. Failure to consider alternatives to closure violated this right (“trial courts are required to consider alternatives to closure even when they are not offered by the parties”). Nor… Read More

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State v. Dhosi J. Ndina, 2009 WI 21, affirming 2007 WI App 268 For Ndina: Richard L. Kaiser Issue/Holding: ¶43      If a defendant’s right to a public trial is determined to have been violated, the defendant need not show prejudice; the doctrine of harmless error does not apply to structural errors. [15]  [15]  See Neder… Read More

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State v. Dhosi J. Ndina, 2009 WI 21, affirming 2007 WI App 268 For Ndina: Richard L. Kaiser Issue/Holding1: Closure of the courtroom to numerous members of defendant’s family during witness testimony implicated the right to public trial: ¶51      Although the United States Supreme Court has stated that pursuant to the Sixth Amendment right to a public trial, “an… Read More

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Public Trial – Locked Courthouse

State v. David L. Vanness, 2007 WI App 195 For Vanness: Chad Lanning Issue/Holding: Right to public trial under the 6th amendment was violated when the courthouse was locked (though the courtroom doors themselves remained open) during the defense case and State’s rebuttal: ¶8 The right to a public trial is a basic tenet of our… Read More

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