![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]>
Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Supreme Court of the United States
March 27, 1984, Argued ; May 21, 1984, Decided 1
[*40] [***35] [**2212] JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.
These cases require us to decide the extent to which a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence may be closed to the public over the objection of the defendant consistently [*41] with the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment right to a public trial.
Acting under court authorization, Georgia police placed wiretaps on a number of phones during the last six months of 1981. The taps revealed a large [****5] lottery operation involved in gambling on the volume of stocks and bonds traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In early January 1982, law enforcement officers simultaneously executed search warrants at numerous locations, including the homes of petitioners. Petitioners and 35 others were indicted and charged with violating the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (Georgia RICO) Act, Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-14-1 to 16-14-15 (1982 and Supp. 1983), and with commercial gambling and communicating gambling information in violation of Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-12-22 and 16-12-28 (1982).
Prior to the separate trial of petitioners and 13 other defendants, petitioners moved to suppress the wiretaps and the evidence [**2213] seized during the searches. They asserted, inter alia, that the warrants authorizing the wiretaps were unsupported by probable cause and based on overly general information, that the taps were conducted without adequate supervision, and that the resulting searches were indiscriminate, "exploratory and general." App. 11a. The State moved to close to the public any hearing on the motion to suppress. The closure motion stated that in order to validate [****6] the seizure of evidence derived from the wiretaps the State would have to introduce evidence "which [might] involve a reasonable expectation of privacy of persons other than" the defendants. Id., at 6a.
On June 21, 1982, a jury was empaneled and then excused while the court heard the closure and suppression motions. The prosecutor argued that the suppression hearing should be closed because under the Georgia wiretap statute "[any] publication" of information obtained under a wiretap warrant [*42] that was not "necessary and essential" would cause the information to be inadmissible as evidence. See Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-64(b)(8) (1982). 3 The prosecutor stated that the evidence derived in [***36] the wiretaps would "involve" some persons who were indicted but were not then on trial, and some persons who were not then indicted. He said that if published in open court, the evidence "[might] very well be tainted." App. 13a. The trial court agreed. It found that insofar as the wiretap evidence related to alleged offenders not then on trial, the evidence would be tainted and could not be used in future prosecutions. Id., at 14a. Over objection, 4 the court ordered [****7] the suppression hearing closed to all persons other than witnesses, court personnel, the parties, and the lawyers.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
467 U.S. 39 *; 104 S. Ct. 2210 **; 81 L. Ed. 2d 31 ***; 1984 U.S. LEXIS 86 ****; 52 U.S.L.W. 4618; 10 Media L. Rep. 1714
WALLER v. GEORGIA
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF GEORGIA.
Disposition: 251 Ga. 124, 303 S. E. 2d 437, reversed and remanded.
suppression hearing, closure, wiretaps, cases, suppress, public trial, indicted, trial court, gambling, parties, tapes
Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, General Overview, Criminal Law & Procedure, Trials, Defendant's Rights, Right to Public Trial, Preliminary Proceedings, Pretrial Motions & Procedures, Suppression of Evidence, Civil Procedure, Judgments, Relief From Judgments