Public Has First Amendment Right of Access to Bail Hearings
Participated in an amicus brief (with the Reporters Committee and other amici) filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia Bail Fund v. Arraignment Court Magistrate Judges. In this case, Philadelphia Bail Fund (PBF), a nonprofit organization advocating for reform of Philadelphia’s bail system, brought suit to challenge the constitutionality of certain Pennsylvania court rules that prohibit it from making audio recordings of bail hearings. The district court granted summary judgment for PBF, holding that there is a First Amendment right of access to bail hearings and that the court rules in question violate the First Amendment. The defendants appealed. The amicus brief supports the district court opinion and emphasizes the role of the news media as a surrogate for the public when reporting on court proceedings.