New York Press's Right of Access to Criminal Proceedings

In New York, the press, like the public, has a right of access to criminal proceedings (see Matter of Westchester Rockland Newspapers v. Leggett, 48 N.Y.2d 430, 437-438, 399 N.E.2d 518, 423 N.Y.S.2d 630 [1979]; Matter of Gannett Co. v. De Pasquale, 43 N.Y.2d 370, 376, 372 N.E.2d 544, 401 N.Y.S.2d 756 [1977]; Matter of Associated Press v. Bell, 70 N.Y.2d 32, 38, 510 N.E.2d 313, 517 N.Y.S.2d 444 [1987]). This includes access to pretrial hearings (id.) ["We conclude, therefore, that the public and the press may have a First Amendment right of access to pretrial suppression hearings"]). Any exception to a public trial should be narrowly construed (Westchester Rockland Newspapers v. Leggett, 48 N.Y.2d, at 443; People v. Hinton, 31 N.Y.2d 71, 75-76, 286 N.E.2d 265, 334 N.Y.S.2d 885 [1972] ["While we reaffirm today the inherent discretionary power of the trial court to close the courtroom, we need only point out that the discretion be sparingly exercised and then, only when unusual circumstances necessitate it"]).