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Friday, September 14, 2007

Open Courts Case: Jury Selection Cannot Be Secret

This Spokesman-Review story describes a recent Court of Appeals decision in which a murder conviction was overturned because the jury was partially selected in a closed court session.

Here are the majority and dissenting opinions.

The Washington State Constitution, article I section 10, provides: "Justice in all cases shall be administered openly, and without unnecessary delay." If a person has a right to a jury of his or her peers, the public should be able to see the jury selection process to ensure that it is fair. Secret trials and court proceedings are a bad thing. Just look at the judicial systems of most other countries to see why.