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75 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1658 (2000)
Public's Vicnage Right: A Constitutional Argument, The

handle is hein.journals/nylr75 and id is 1674 raw text is: THE PUBLIC'S VICINAGE RIGHT:
Again and again in notorious criminal trials, courts neglect significant public inter-
ests by transferring the trial out of the community in which the crime was commit-
ted. The acquittal of the officers who shot Amidou Diallo reflects but the latest of a
number of high-profile verdicts in which the change of venue undermined the ver-
dict's legitimacy, particularly within the community victimized by the crime. Amer-
ican law always has presumed that jurors must be drawn from within the victimized
community in order to permit the jury to fulfill its representative and adjudicative
functions. Local jurors stamp the community's judgment on the verdict, permit the
trial to serve as an outlet for community concern, and interpret ambiguous statutory
terms in light of the common sense of the community. These essential jury func-
tions were understood by the Founders, yet they wholly are absent from the prevail-
ing law governing change of venue motions. In this Article, Steven Engel argues
that the public enjoys a constitutional right to adjudicate criminal trials locally. He
first examines a series of cases in the 1980s where the Supreme Court recognized
that the public enjoys a right of access to criminal proceedings premised on the
tradition of public access, the public interest in publicity, and the link between the
right and established constitutional values. He then suggests that the public's vici-
nage right grows from the same soil as does the public's right of access, has long-
standing roots in our legal tradition, continues to serve important public policies,
and is implicit in other constitutional doctrines protecting the jury right. Engel con-
cludes that recognizing such a public right would encourage courts to explore alter-
natives to transfers that would preserve the defendant's right to an impartial jury
without damaging the community interests implicit in the trial by jury.
Something went wrong when an Albany jury acquitted four of-
ficers who fired forty-one bullets at an unarmed man in the Bronx.
The problem lay not in the verdict itself-mistaken and panicked po-
lice officers, even horribly mistaken ones, may not be criminals. Nor
did the Albany jury appear particularly biased in favor of the defen-
dants, as a similar Simi Valley jury might have been several years
* Law Clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit. A.B., 1996, Harvard College; M.Phil., 1997, Cambridge University; J.D.,
2000, Yale University. Many thanks to Akhil Amar, Abraham Goldstein, and Judith Res-
nik for their advice, support, and inspiration. Thanks also to my co-clerk Susan Kearns for
her superb editing and to Judge Kozinski for letting me devote hours to this project that I
otherwise could have used for sleeping. And last, thanks to my first teachers, JoAnn and
Mark, to whom I owe everything else that has followed. Needless to say, the views ex-
pressed herein are those of the author alone.

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Law Review

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