CASE LAW UPDATE: Whether the closure of the courtroom during jury voir dire violated defendant’s rights to a public trial?
Defendant was convicted of 1st and 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct in Jackson County. During jury voir dire, the trial court ordered that the courtroom be closed to the public. Defendant appealed, arguing that the closure of the courtroom during jury voir dire violated his constitutional right to a public trial. The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that while th charges involved traumatic and deeply personal experiences, the charges alone did not support a generalized concern that the 18 jurors were likely to provide false information or withhold information if questioned in open court. Accordingly, the closure of the courtroom was too broad given the alternative imitations that the trial court declined to impose. Conviction reversed.
State v. Maine, A21-0023, Jackson County.
Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.