The Utah Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a man found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl, saying the trial should have been held in public.
The case has been remanded to 4th District Court for a new trial.Edison Crowley was convicted of rape in a trial that was closed to all spectators except a worker from the Rape Crisis Center. Attorneys for the girl, whose name was not revealed, argued that she was nervous and frightened and would be unable to testify with relatives and others in the courtroom.
By a unanimous vote, the justices said Judge Boyd L. Park did not provide an adequate reason for closing the trial. Crowley and his attorney objected to the move at the time, saying it violated their constitutional right to a public trial.
"The closure order entered in this case was not supported by any evidence or findings concerning its necessity, and it was entered over defendant's objection that it violated his right to a public trial," the Supreme Court decision said.