OPEN COURTS — Writing in the Woodland Daily Democrat, Yolo County Superior Court Executive Officer Jim Perry defends the court against a Sacramento Bee editorial that suggested that a lawyer's motion to remove the press from his client's civil trialrecently withdrawntypified a secrecy trend in the court itself.
The genesis of the editorial was a motion made by a defense lawyer, Michael Rothschild, on behalf of a dentist accused of sexual battery on his patients. In that motion, the dentist asked the judge to bar the media from all trial proceedings, including jury selection. So, what's wrong with making a motion? Attorneys file motions all the time. Motions are filed, they are often opposed, and a neutral judicial officer then makes a decision. Some motions are granted and some are denied. The right to file motions and to have a fair hearing on the motion by a neutral judicial officer is as important a right as open court proceedings. Yet the Bee, in its editorial opines as follows:
"But the fact that Rothschild would even seek this court closure says much about Yolo County. In recent years, Yolo has shown itself to be indifferent, at best, toward ensuring open courts."