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Supreme Court considers access to trials, juror names

Superior Court case: State v. Wilson, No. S0200-CR2017-00516 (Cochise Cty. Super. Ct.)

Supreme Court case: Morgan v. Dickerson, No. CV-20-0285-SA

Roger Wilson
Roger Wilson

The First Amendment Clinic has been watching how the pandemic affects access to justice, and particularly how the necessary restrictions on the process to accommodate distancing might interfere with an open and public trial. Now, these issues have suddenly ended up at the Supreme Court, after it granted our petition for expedited consideration of some limiting orders in a murder trial in Cochise County.

The Roger Wilson murder trial included an order from the judge excluding all media from the courtroom, reading the Supreme Court’s Administrative Order (which is encourages public and media access to the greatest extent possible) to not include the news media, or even a pool representative, as the “necessary persons” who can be in the courtroom. In addition, the judge said that all jurors would be identified only by numbers, with their names permanently kept from the public. We are appealing both parts of that order.

The Docket: