State v. Tallman

In State v. Tallman, 148 Vt. 465, 473, 537 A.2d 422, 427 (1987), the Court described the presumption in favor of openness as an "indispensable attribute" of a trial. Allowing the public to view the administration of justice in criminal proceedings gives assurance that the proceedings are conducted fairly to all concerned, including the community. In Tallman, the Court was confronted with the press's desire for access to an affidavit of probable cause and a pretrial suppression hearing, against the wishes of the criminal defendant. The Court gave the following as a general policy statement: We start with the presumption that pretrial proceedings and documents are open to the public, closure being the exception rather than the rule. . . . This is because "openness . . . enhances both the basic fairness of the criminal trial and the appearance of fairness so essential to public confidence in the system." (Id. at 474, 537 A.2d at 427-28.)