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Court tosses convictions over closed courtroom

Court tosses convictions over closed courtroom

CREATED Dec. 25, 2012

Web Producer: Rikki Mitchell

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Three Tucson men convicted of planning a home invasion robbery have had their convictions thrown out because a judge closed the trial to the public.
   
The unanimous opinion issued Monday by the Arizona Court of Appeals says Pima County Superior Court Judge Jane Eikleberry's order closing the courtroom to all except the press violated the defendants' constitutional right to a public trial and didn't pass tests set out by the U.S. Supreme Court that guide when trials can be closed.
   
Eikleberry closed the trial because jurors apparently complained about intimidating conduct by people in the gallery.
   
The court ordered a new trial for Marcus Tucker, Andre Armstrong and Clifton Cuttler.
   
The three were arrested after police posing as drug traffickers told them they wanted to hire a home invasion "crew."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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