COURT WATCH: Case Delayed after Defense Lawyer Complains Public – and His Assistant – Wrongly Not Allowed into ‘Open’ Courtroom

By Audrey Sawyer

SACRAMENTO, CA — A co-accused case—charges of firearm possession by a felon in one and, in the other, possession of ammunition by a felon—was delayed because of the claim by Defense Attorney Stratton Barbee that the Sacramento County Superior Court department ought to be open to the public.

Barbee said when he entered the hallway to the courtroom, the deputies told him that the public was not allowed to enter, adding, “My understanding from having prior cases is that appearances are supposed to be open to the public. That is a constitutional right.”

Commissioner Alin Cintean, noting he understood the point, suggested maybe it was something left over from dealing with COVID and that the courtroom streams live. Cintean then asked Barbee if there were any members of either the accused’s families or members of the public that were not granted access.

When Barbee said his assistant was denied access to the courtroom as a member of the public that day, Cintean agreed that she should have been granted access. Cintean asked Barbee if he wanted to pass the case so that it could be open to the public, to which Barbee concurred.

Cintean promised to open the courtroom to the public, stating, “That is an issue that I am going to take under submission for the very near future, opening the entire courtroom, even though we are live streaming and providing access…I believe that we are the only courtroom that is livestreaming in Sacramento.”

About The Author

Audrey is a senior at UC San Diego majoring in Political Science (Comparative Politics emphasis). After graduation, Audrey plans on attending graduate school and is considering becoming a public defender.

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