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Various state statutes and constitutions grant trial court judges discretion to exclude spectators from criminal trials involving sex crimes. For example, section 4 of New York Judiciary Law permits a court to exclude persons without a direct interest in the trial when the proceeding involves divorce, seduction, rape, sodomy, bastardy, or filiation.' The Mississippi Constitution has a similar provision, under which a court, in its discretion, may bar individuals from the courtroom in prosecutions for rape, adultery, fornication, sodomy, or crimes against nature. 2 In jurisdictions without specific statutory or constitutional authorization, trial court judges often have used their inherent judicial discretion to exclude spectators from sex crime trials.' Through closure, courts and legislatures have attempted to protect sex crime victims from the ordeal of a trial before curious and unrelated observers. 4 It is thought that fewer spectators in the courtroom lessen the victim's trauma and allow him or her to testify more fully and accurately, thus promoting the fair administration of justice.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
6 Sep 2022
1.39 MB



  • Subject
    • Criminal Law

    • First Amendment

    • Sex Crimes

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Law Review

  • Volume
    • 22

  • Issue
    • 2

  • Pagination
    • 361

  • Date submitted

    6 September 2022