Saturday, July 21, 2018

Is court litigation or criminal prosecution open to the public as it progresses? Normally, yes (unless a judge says otherwise)

Thursday, I posted my comments about the court hearing for the complaint filed by Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al vs. United States, regarding trying to get an injunction against FOSTA-SESTA (see July 19 for link).

I still have yet to find a major media account of the hearing, or anything on EFF or Woodhull’s site on the outcome of the hearing. 

It strikes me a curious, given the potential importance of the case.  As I noted, the judge sounded very skeptical of the claims, to me at least – although not in a political way, more in simply taking words literally in a statute and applying legal civil and criminal procedure law.

Perhaps it is “rude” for amateurs to comment on “activist” litigation before a judge does, as if it could spook or slant the outcome if a judge found it online.

But I can find nothing in the law that says that the course of any court hearing is confidential, unless there is a very specific instruction from a judge (as about classified information).  It is true that actual photography or videotaping is normally prohibited in court, but there is nothing that I know of that makes what was said secret, in so far as someone remembers what happened or took manual handwritten notes (old school style).

Here is the main source;  here also is the federal courts link on it.

There are, of course, some things that happen in secret for a while (grand juries, usually). 

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