Live Streaming of the Derek Chauvin Trial

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Live Streaming of the Derek Chauvin Trial

In Minnesota a trial judge can authorize televised courtroom proceedings.  Over the objection of the prosecution, Judge Peter Cahill took the historically rare step (in Minnesota) of authorizing live video coverage of the George Floyd murder trial.  Hence, the Star Tribune newspaper and Court TV are broadcasting this momentous trial.  The newspaper has gathered together comments here, both pro and con about Judge Cahill’s ruling.  For example, Mitchell Hamline School of Law Professor Raleigh Hannah Levine says, "These are the kind of proceedings in which we all have a deep investment, and we all deserve to watch the proceedings play out unmediated by a third party."

What Constitutes Adequate Waiver of the Constitutional Right to a Public Trial?

In State v. Martinez, the North Dakota Supreme Court eruditely answers that question, which arose in several consolidated criminal cases.  The court canvases a large swath of federal and state jurisprudence.  The dissent parses the differences between the public’s right to attend a trial and a party’s right to a public trial.  With the current public health crisis causing edginess among some court actors and the general public about in-person gatherings, the case may be worth consulting by courts and litigators.

Pound Institute’s 2021 Forum to Focus on Jury Trials – Trial Judges Welcome

The Pound Civil Justice Institute will hold its 29th annual Forum for State Appellate Court Judges, titled Juries, Voir Dire, Batson, and Beyond:  Achieving Fairness in Civil Jury Trials, on Saturday, July 17, 2021 in Chicago. The Forum will feature two academic papers presented by law professors Shari Diamond (Northwestern) and Valerie Hans (Cornell); panel discussion among legal academics, jurists, and members of the defense and plaintiff bars; and small discussion groups for attending judges.

The Institute will accommodate as many trial judges as is budgetarily feasible at this complimentary conference (either in person or via remote access, depending on pandemic conditions).  If the Forum is held in person, the Institute will pay coach travel, hotel, and program costs for registered judges. Pound gives in-person registration priority to sitting state appellate judges.  Formal registration will take place later this spring, once the logistical details are finalized.

A form in which you can share your interest in attending the Forum can be filled out here. If you have any questions, contact the Institute at 202-944-2841 or via email.

Rhode Island AG Pushes for Release of All Grand Jury No-Indictment Findings

The Providence Journal reports state attorney general Peter F. Neronha wants the legislature to authorize the release of grand jury reports that do not end in indictments, such as those involving excessive force by police and institutional misconduct.  Citing the 18 states that allow publishing grand jury reports, Neronha told the House Judiciary Committee, “There are times when the public needs to be reassured.”

Nevada Judge Reprimanded for Cursing and Berating Prospective Juror

Pursuant to a stipulation, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline has publicly reprimanded Judge Richard Scotti for throwing a book against the wall and cursing, berating, yelling at, and threatening a prospective juror during voir dire in a criminal case.  The disciplining followed a reversal of a conviction in the underlying case.  In doing so, the Nevada Supreme Court stated, “Because we cannot be convinced that an impartial jury was selected under these circumstances where the judge did nothing to alleviate the intimidating atmosphere that he created, we reverse and remand for a new trial.”