Courts

PETA v. City of Virginia Beach

Virginia Marine Science Museum Foundation is a private entity not subject to FOIA.

Carr v. Forbes Inc. (4th Cir. on libel)

An engineer who sued a magazine for defamation had made himself a limited-purpose public figure by his role in choosing and publicizing contracts. He could not show that the magazine acted with . . .actual malice.’

Connell v. Kersey

(NOTE: The 2002 General Assembly added an amendment to FOIA reversing this decision and making clear that all constitutional offices are subject to FOI law.)

Present: All the Justices

JAMES G. CONNELL III v ANDREW KERSEY

OPINION BY JUSTICE LAWRENCE L. KOONTZ, JR.

Record No. 001729

June 8, 2001

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF FAIRFAX COUNTY
Jane Marum Roush, Judge

Wilson v. City of Salem

Wilson v. City of Salem/Munley v. City of Salem: Judge Weckstein's opinion

Mannix v. Board of Supervisors

[The case was first heard in General District Court; order below.]

May 3, 2001

Mr. Patrick J. Mannix, Sr.
xxxxxx
Bristol, VA 24201

Mr. J.D. Bowie
Attorney at Law
xxxxxx
Bristol, VA 24203

Re: Patrick J. Mannix, Sr. v. Washington County Board of Supervisors
Circuit Court of Washington County
File No. 01-93

Gentlemen:

Smith v. Richmond Newspapers

Present: All the Justices

YVONNE G. SMITH

v.

RICHMOND NEWSPAPERS, INC., ET AL.

Record No. 000337

January 12, 2001

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HENRICO COUNTY
George F. Tidey, Judge

OPINION BY JUSTICE LAWRENCE L. KOONTZ, JR.

In this appeal, we consider whether audio tape recordings of a felony criminal trial are open to inspection by the public under Code § 17.1-208 and, if so, whether mandamus is the proper remedy to compel the clerk of the trial court to allow such inspection.

BACKGROUND

Bell v. Jarvis (4th Cir. on public trials)

A man convicted of sexually abusing his step-granddaughter objected when the public and press were removed from the courtroom while she testified. On direct appeal, his lawyer failed to make a 6th Amendment claim to a public trial. The state courts summarily rejected petitioner's state habeas claim that failure to pursue the Sixth Amendment violation on appeal constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. The federal district court likewise rejected the claim and petitioner appealed. The court affirmed, finding that the underlying circumstances of the case sufficiently indicated an overriding, compelling interest in protecting a child victim from the embarrassment and trauma, that the closure was narrowly tailored to protect the compelling interest, and that the state court did not unreasonably reject petitioner's Sixth Amendment claims on the basis of an improper denial of a public trial.

Fisher v. King

No 1st Amendment right of access to government-held information.

Connell v. Kersey

Commonwealth Attorney not a public body under FOIA. Criminal incident information need only be summarized; the actual records need not be disclosed.

Hertz v. Times-World Corp.

The Bedford County Circuit Court granted writs of mandamus to two newspapers, ordering that transcripts from several criminal hearings be made public. Two of the hearings involved juveniles and two involved adults accused of sexual crimes, in which numerous juvenile witnesses were required to testify. The Court reversed those writs of mandamus. The newspapers should have pursued their proper legal remedy, which was to intervene in order to have their objections heard.

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