WA Legal Roundup: Division II
Lormor was convicted of possession of uncontrolled substance (meth). The trial court prohibited his almost four year old daughter from the the proceedings when the state argued that he wanted his daughter present to elicit sympathy from the jury. His defense counsel did not object to the closure. Lormore appeals his conviction arguing that the exclusion was a violation of his right to a public trial and the failure of his counsel to object denied him the right of effective assistance of counsel.
There is a two part test to determine whether the right to a public trial is violated. The court will determine whether the trial court’s ruling implicated the defendant's right and if so they will look to ensure the court properly considered the Bone-Club-5 factors. Here, the court found that the closure did not implicate Lormor’s right to a public trial when the child was the only person excluded, her presence would not ensure that the parties carry out their duties responsibly, and she was too young to aid in jury selection.