Sunday, April 07, 2019

Clearing A Courtroom OK'd For Testimony By Muslim Woman With Uncovered Face

In Copper v. Superintendent of Sci-Greene, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59150 (ED PA, April 2, 2019), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge recommended rejecting a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel brought by convicted murderer Tyreese Copper.  Copper argued that his counsel should have objected that the way in which the trial judge accommodated the religious concerns of a Muslim woman who was one of the prosecution witnesses violated his right to a public trial. The witness was wearing a burqa. The trial court judge insisted that she uncover her face so that the jury could assess her credibility. The judge however agreed to clear public spectators from the courtroom while she testified with her face cover removed.