Juvenile Courts to Open Abuse Hearings to Public

Juvenile Courts to Open Abuse Hearings to Public

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Some of Utah's juvenile courts could open some of their child-abuse hearings to the public this fall.

Under a new state law, abuse hearings in Utah's third and sixth districts will be "presumed opened" starting November 1st, unless a judge acts to close them.

That will mark a change for hearings that were assumed to be closed to the public unless a judge opened them.

By 2005 all of the state's Division of Child and Family Services court proceedings will be presumed opened to the public.

Judges have mixed feelings about it.

Juvenile court administrator Ray Wahl says some judges are OK with the change, others oppose the new openness and still more are taking no position.

Second District Judge Kathleen Nelson says she worries about privacy of children, especially in small towns.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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