NEFAC REPORT | January 2019
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently ruled that the public has a right to the names and home addresses of jurors, saying that this information is needed to hold the judicial system accountable despite increased privacy concerns.

The Jan. 18 decision was in a case brought by WBUR-Boston — represented by Jeff Pyle of Prince Lobel Tye — when the station was denied access to the names and home addresses of the jurors in  U.S. v. Chin . The case, which drew national attention, involved a pharmacist convicted in Massachusetts for his role in a deadly 2012 multi-state meningitis outbreak.

NEFAC filed an amici brief last February arguing that delaying access to juror information is “contrary to democratic norms of transparency and accountability inherent in the American criminal justice system.” [...]

Additional Coverage

NEFAC recently expressed concern over proposed rules that would limit the public’s ability to record Vermont judicial proceedings and require journalists to register with the state before using cameras in courtrooms.

“In summary, we believe these changes are unnecessary as state courts already have adequate tools at their disposal to protect the privacy interests of witnesses and jurors,” wrote Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director, in a Jan. 14 letter.

Publisher Todd Smith, a member of NEFAC’s Board of Directors, also signed the letter on behalf of the Caledonian Record. [...]

NEFAC recently presented to a delegation of Canadian public officials interested in learning about U.S. constitutional law and civil liberties.

“It was a great opportunity to share with those outside our borders the value of the First Amendment and why it is so important to this country,” said Gregory V. Sullivan, a member of NEFAC’s Board of Directors who spoke to the visiting group Jan. 15 at the Boston Foundation in Boston. [...]


The exotic dancing at the Foxy Lady will never be confused with the Bolshoi Ballet.

Indeed, some would consider it “low value” speech and condemn it as demeaning to women, offensive and immoral.

Yet, the fact that some members of society may frown on this type of expression provides no basis to suppress it.

Courts must be especially vigilant to protect exotic dancing and other types of unpopular speech precisely because they face the greatest threats of suppression. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said in 1919: “We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions we loathe.” [...]

Additional Coverage



Public Officials, Social Media



'Clean Slate' Legislation



Obscenity, Public Schools

Secret Pardons



Public Records Law Reform



FOI Legislation



New Attorney General, Transparency

Access to Jurors, Press Rights



Body Camera Footage

Free Speech, Harassment


Major Supporters and Contributors to the 
New England First Amendment Coalition include: