The 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ordered U. S. District Judge Earl B. Gilliam to conduct in public all jury selection proceedings in the trial of Nancy Hoover Hunter, who is charged with fraud, conspiracy and income tax evasion stemming from the collapse of the J. David & Co. investment firm.
Gilliam had ruled on Tuesday that the press and the public be excluded from parts of jury selection dealing with pretrial publicity. He said the potential jurors might respond more candidly to questions about bias and preconceived notions of guilt if the sessions are held without the press in the courtroom.
However, ruling on an appeal filed by lawyers for Copley Press, the 9th Circuit said Gilliam’s ruling “does not meet the standard necessary to restrict the First Amendment rights of the press and public.”
Jury selection, which is expected to be unusually lengthy, enters its third day today.