In 2011 U.S State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy was charged with second degree murder after allegedly shooting a man in a McDonald’s. During the course of the trial Hawaiian circuit Judge Karen Ahn held five closed room meetings with the prosecutor, defense counsel and Deedy to talk about the jury. After the fifth meeting she called a mistrial and sealed some of the transcript. Oahu Publications Inc. filed suit to get the transcripts unsealed and to stop Ahn from closing future proceedings without providing safeguards that the U.S. Supreme Court requires. The Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled in favor of public access and upheld a public right of access to criminal proceedings and announced a series of procedures to protect that right.
My personal philosophy as far as this case is concerned is that the Hawaiian Supreme Court got the case right. Although the Judge has a right to evaluate every aspect of a case, including the jury, they should not be able to hide transcripts from the public related to criminal proceedings. My main reason for taking this point of view is because I believe the public should always have the option of being fully aware of everything that goes on in the court rooms that could influence how they feel about their personal and family safety.