United States v. Yazzie, No. 12-10165 % US v. George, No. 12-10326 (2-27-14)(Ikuta with Farris and Fernandez)(Note: Az FPD represented George).
The sixth amendment right to an open courtroom benefits the defendant. There is also a first amendment right for openness. This right to a "public trial" is not absolute. However, to close a courtroom, (1) the party seeking to close the courtroom must present an overriding interest that is likely to be prejudiced; (2) the closure must be no broader than necessary; (3) reasonable alternatives must be considered; and (4) adequate findings must be made. In both of these cases, involving child victims of sexual abuse, the 9th affirmed the convictions, finding that the test set forth in Waller v. Georgia, 467 US 39 (1984) had been met. The court had found the compelling need, limited the closure to when the children were testifying, explored alternatives, and sufficiently set forth the matters and balancing on the record. The 9th also held that the requirements of 18 USC 3509(e) which permits closed courtrooms for child witnesses were also satisfied. Lastly, the 9th held that the charging and convictions on discrete sexual acts under 18 USC 2241(c) did not violate double jeopardy.