Temporary Exclusion of Defendant’s Family Members from Courtroom Does not Violate Right to Public Trial

Apr 13, 2010

The California First Appellate District held that the brief exclusion of a defendant’s family members from the courtroom during jury voire dire did not violate his constitutional right to a public trial. Mr. Bui was charged with multiple felonies, and had a jury trial. His family members came to courtroom during jury selection and seated themselves among the spectators, in close proximity to the prospective jurors. The court ordered them removed.

The Court affirmed the judgment, finding that the family members were only excluded for 40 minutes, and thus, this brief exclusion was “de minimus.”

The case is People v. Bui, April 6, 2010, A119404