Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia

U.S. Case Law

Legal Definition of Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia 

448 U.S. 555 (1980), affirmed the public's and the press's constitutional right to attend criminal trials. The decision overturned a state court ruling that the publicity surrounding a murder case then entering a fourth trial (because of a series of mistrials and reversals) justified the exclusion from the court of members of the press and the public. The Supreme Court ruled that only when a defendant's right to a fair trial is demonstrably threatened, and there is no alternative to closure, can a trial take place beyond the view of the public. One year later, in Chandler v. Florida, 449 U.S. 560 (1981), the Court allowed that press access to trials may include television coverage, but cautioned in a subsequent case Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 457 U.S. 596 (1982), that tighter restrictions may apply in the case of minors.

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