Gilpin County judge who kicked out defendant’s family committed public trial violation, court finds

Colorado Politics: A Gilpin County judge who ejected the defendant’s family and other observers from his courtroom and told them to watch the livestream from elsewhere in the courthouse violated the defendant’s constitutional right to a public trial, Colorado’s second-highest court ruled last week.

Michelle Re Nae Bialas was on trial for the second time when some jurors reported hearing talk among the spectators about Bialas’ previous trial. Although the comments about Bialas’ first trial appeared to come from the alleged victim’s family, not Bialas’, District Court Judge Todd L. Vriesman kicked everyone out, saying he was “not going to sit around” to determine who was at fault.

A three-judge panel for the Court of Appeals criticized Vriesman’s handling of the situation.

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