Recognizing a Constitutional Right of Media Access to Evidentiary Recordings in Criminal Trials

This Note advocates recognition of a constitutional right of press access to evidentiary recordings in criminal trials. It proposes methods for accommodating the competing rights of the news media to have access to evidentiary recordings used in criminal trials and the right of criminal defendants to a fair trial. Part I examines the source of controversy and sets forth the limitations inherent in the current common law presumption of press access to judicial records. Part II disusses the underlying values that require recognition of the constitutional right and suggests that such a right can be accommodated with a defendant’s right to a fair trial.