For years, straphangers who got caught for minor infractions — like drinking beer or sleeping on a subway car — have found themselves before the Transit Adjudication Bureau, a little-known judicial body that handles thousands of cases stemming from criminal acts on the city’s subways and buses.So why isn't family court testimony open to the public?
Now the bureau is facing its own rap: violating the Constitution.
Since the 1980s, members of the public could be barred from attending bureau hearings at the request of the defendant, a policy intended to provide more privacy and to reduce absenteeism.
But that practice was ruled a violation of the First Amendment by Judge Richard J. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in an opinion issued last week and announced on Monday. The New York Civil Liberties Union challenged the policy in a lawsuit filed after members of the organization were not allowed entry to several hearings. ...
The adjudication bureau handles about 20,000 cases a year for minor infractions like littering, smoking, gambling or riding between cars, all of which carry a maximum fine of $100. ...
But in his opinion, Judge Sullivan determined that concerns about personal privacy, or a potential chilling effect on respondents, did not meet the threshold to close the proceedings.
It is open in Alaska:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sarah Palin's oldest daughter appears to have lost her bid to keep a bitter legal dispute with her 1-year-old son's father confidential.
An Alaska judge last week denied Bristol Palin's request to keep the legal proceedings of her custody dispute with Levi Johnston closed.
My ex-wife got my kids by making false accusations against me in a secret motion to Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph. Then she persuaded a witness to testify against me, and asked Cmr. Joseph to seal the testimony. He has ordered me not to post Sally Mitchell's false allegations.
Cmr. Joseph did authorize me to say that setting the alarm clock for 7:00 am on school mornings was typical of the charges against me. Now he has sent us out for another evaluation, and he has already ordered the report sealed.
I just don't understand why the public in New York has a constitutional right to know who has been littering in the subway, but the public in Santa Cruz has no right to know why the kids are being court-ordered to grow up without fathers.