Constitutional Law – Public Trial in Criminal Cases

The criminal trial has been traditionally open to the public in Anglo-Saxon procedure, as it was in Roman and other civilized societies of an earlier time. The public trial of today, however, has been subjected to considerable criticism on the ground that there is a tendency for criminal trials to degenerate into public spectacles, frequently interrupting the orderly procedure of justice, and not infrequently actually prejudicing the accused. If no useful purpose is served by the presence of the idle public during the deadly serious determination of guilt or innocence, should not the judge, subject to the right of admittance of any whom the accused desires in attendance, be allowed to exclude all who have no special interest in the proceeding? This comment will consider that question.