Q Does a municipal judge have the authority to limit the courtís audience to those who are parties before the court, their legal representatives and party witnesses?

A A judge may not exclude individuals or groups of individuals, including mere spectators, from a courtroom without a finding, on a case by case basis, that such action is necessary to insure order and decorum. In order to close the courtroom to members of the public, the court must consider the rights of the general public as well as the rights of the defendant. (Attorney Generalís Opinion to Palmer dated June 10, 2011)