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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BAILIFFS ARE CLOSING COURTROOMS AGAIN ON THEIR OWN

It keeps happening. 

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. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am quite sure the bailiffs will read those decisions and welcome all in the court room with open arms

Anonymous said...

How many bailiffs does it take to screw in a light bulb? You can't find one that knows how.

The Professor said...

Rump,

You are correct to a point. I agree that it might look best to get a list of the defendant's in the hallway, but that means an interminable slowdown in the calendar, even for private counsel as they wait for their clients to be called and brought in and the others also called.

There is also the issue of the fire marshals The courtrooms have limited capacity, that is the number of persons allowed in the room at any one time

Time for a new courthouse, but what do you think the chances are that the voters will approve a criminal courthouse over a civil courthouse?

Anonymous said...

Unless youre specifically not naming names, I will point out that this is a daily issue in Judge Stephen Millan's courtroom. His bailiff is a great guy, hardworking and pleasant to be around. He will literally sprint around trying to find you an interpreter.

But because that courtroom is tiny, he doesnt let hardly anyone in. He's always turning away families, etc.

He's being put in a no-win situation, if you ask me. His boss, Judge Millan, should go to Judge Soto or whoever is running the building and demand to be moved to that big, rarely used courtroom that hosts big-shot murder trials.

Or anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Like Civil.

Anonymous said...

Earlier this week, I was present when Judge Millan's bailiff made his announcement when unlocking the courtroom. He announced that because there were only two rows of seating, he was only letting in the Defendants. He also added, that when a Defendant's case is called, he would go outside and bring in the Defendant's family if the Defendant would let him know they were there.

You're right though that Vic is one of the nicest guys in the building and very cooperative with defense attorneys.

Kissimmee Kid said...

Pshaw, they have been running closed door civil cases in Brevard for decades now. Open courtrooms are a thing of the past.