The Sixth Amendment and the Right to a Public Trial

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In Jordan against Lamannathe United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit considered whether the district court properly issued a writ of habeas corpus and ordered a new trial for petitioner Gigi Jordan, who was convicted of manslaughter by the New York State Supreme Court in 2014. 33 F.4th 144 (2nd Cir. 2022).

In a unanimous decision written by Circuit Judge Sack, with Circuit Judges Leval and Park concurring, the Second Circuit reversed the District Court’s grant of habeas corpus, finding that closing the room Public hearing by the trial judge for approximately 15 minutes, during the nine-week trial, did not violate Jordan’s right to a public trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. The court found that the substantial impact of the closed proceedings was negligible and that there was no historical precedent to suggest that the closed portion of the hearing should have been held in public. The committee concluded that the Supreme Court’s precedent specifying the steps to be taken before closing a criminal trial to the public, in particular Waller c.Georgia467 US 39, 44 (1984) and Presley c.Georgia558 US 209, 212 (2010) (by curiam) – did not necessarily apply to ancillary proceedings such as the 15-minute “closed-door proceedings” in Jordan. Thus, the Second Circuit found that the opinion of the New York State Appellate Division affirming Jordan’s conviction was not an unreasonable application of the law.

Jordan’s trial and the “closed proceedings”

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