Criminal Procedure – Standing of the Press to Protest Exclusion of Public from Criminal Trial by Order of the Trial Judge

Defendant judge, believing that great harm to public morals and decency was to be apprehended from the testimony in the vice trial of Minot F. Jelke, exercised his discretion to exclude the general public including plaintiff newspapers from the court room during the state’s case. The family and friends of the accused along with officers of the court, witnesses, and jury were not excluded. The plaintiffs applied for a writ of prohibition to restrain the defendant from enforcing his order. The court denied the application on the grounds that the defendant judge had the power to make the exclusion order and that the Supreme Court, Special Term of New York County, could not substitute its judgment for that of the defendant. On appeal, held, affirmed. Newspapers as members of the public lack any standing to raise the question of the denial of a public trial. The question is one which has to be decided on proper appeal from the judgment in the original criminal action. United Press Assns. v. Valente, 281 App. Div. 395, 120 N.Y.S. (2d) 174 (1953).