Civil Procedure Keyed to Cound
Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia
An individual named Stevenson was indicted for murdering a hotel manager. He was convicted of second degree murder shortly thereafter. The Virginia Supreme Court reversed Stevenson’s conviction finding that a bloodstained shirt admitted into evidence that allegedly belonged to Stevenson was inadmissible. Stevenson was tried again, but that trial ended in a mistrial. A third trial also ended in a mistrial. A fourth trial was conducted and the Appellants, Wheeler and McCarthy reporters for Richmond Newspapers, Inc. (the “Appellants”), were in attendance. The defendant moved for the trial to be closed to the public. The prosecution did not have an objection to the courtroom being closed, so the trial judge cleared the court room. The Appellants sought a hearing to vacate the closure order. The trial judge scheduled a hearing the next day, but ruled the hearing was part of trial and cleared the courtroom again. The trial court denied the motion to vacate and ordered the trial to continue “with the press and public excluded.” The trial court found Stevenson not guilty of murder. The trial court then granted “appellants’ motion to intervene nunc pro tunc in the Stevenson case. Appellants then petitioned the Virginia Supreme Court for writs of mandamus and prohibition and filed an appeal from the trial court’s closure order.” Thereafter, “the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed the mandamus and prohibition petitions and, finding no reversible error, denied the petition for appeal.”
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