Some lunkhead wearing a uniform makes a statement before the Judge enters the courtroom that only defendants are allowed in the courtroom. Then he kicks out everyone else.
News flash: courtrooms are public places. Courts in Florida are open proceedings.
There are of course exceptions. This is not about keeping a court open if a child is testifying. This is about public access to the daily administration of the courts in Miami-Dade.
If this keeps up, we may have to file a lawsuit.*
Crowded courtrooms? Call the county commissioners and get them to fund a new courthouse. Not our problem. Go in the hallway and get a list of names of defendants who are in the hallway.
But you cannot just kick people out of an open courtroom because its a Tuesday and court was closed Monday and its a big calendar.
Both the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article I, section 16 of the Florida Constitution provide the accused with the right to a public trial. While we recognize that the right of access in a criminal trial is not absolute, the circumstances allowing closure are limited. See Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 457 U.S. 596, 102 S.Ct. 2613, 73 L.Ed.2d 248 (1982). In order to justify any type of closure, whether the closure is total or partial, the court must find “that a denial of such right is necessitated by a compelling governmental interest and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest.” U.S. at 607, 102 S.Ct. at 2620.
Alonso v. State, 821 So. 2d 423, 426 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002)
See you in open courtrooms.
* Well, we'd have to hire someone. We don't know how to file lawsuits.