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Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court for the County of Norfolk

Significance, The Right To Privacy Vs. The Public's Right To Know, Protecting Minors From Trauma


Globe Newspaper Company


Superior Court for the County of Norfolk, Massachusetts

Appellant's Claim

That it had the right to attend the rape trial in which the three witnesses claiming to be raped were 16 and 17 years old, despite a Massachusetts state law mandating that all sex-crime trials involving victims under 18 be closed to the public.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

James F. McHugh

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr., Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr. (writing for the Court), Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Warren E. Burger, William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

23 June 1982


The Massachusetts state law was too broadly written and was therefore unconstitutional; although states did have the right to occasionally close trials to the press and the public, the laws permitting such closure had to allow for a case-by-case review rather than summarily closing all trials of a certain type.


Thomas, Jo. "Change of Venue: Is Impartial Jury Possible?," Minneapolis Star Tribune, 23 February 1996, p. 8A.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988