Courts to deny public access

Santa Clara County Superior Court's downtown San Jose civil courthouse at 191 N. First St.

Santa Clara County Superior Court is restricting visitors at its San Jose courthouse until further notice amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, despite the Constitutional requirement of a public trial.

Only those who need to testify in court and their attorneys are allowed in on the day of their hearing.

No other visitors will be allowed inside without “good cause,” the court said.

Sheriff’s deputies, court staff and judicial officers are among the few permitted inside the court.

“If you do not have a hearing taking place at the court please do not come to the courthouse during this time,” Presiding Judge Deborah Ryan said in a statement.

Her order seems to contradict the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

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