2019 Lecture Press Release
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Attorney Kelli L. Sager to Deliver 34th Annual Silha Lecture,

“In Defense of Public Trials:

Access To Court Proceedings in the Internet Age,”

on October 28, 2019

Almost a quarter of a century after the O. J. Simpson criminal trial riveted the country, the public’s ability to observe or even read about court proceedings is under threat.

The principle of open judicial proceedings is a hallmark of the U.S. judicial system, predating the American Revolution. Recent controversial civil and criminal cases, such as Minnesota v. Mohamed Noor, make it increasingly important for the public to scrutinize what is happening in their courts. Yet despite modern technological advances that make meaningful access to court proceedings and records easier than before, access to judicial proceedings is more restricted than ever. The advent of social media has prompted some judges to limit the use of electronic devices, citing concerns about privacy and defendants’ fair trial rights under the Sixth Amendment and repudiating long-established First Amendment protections for public and media access to criminal trials. Political attacks on the judiciary have further complicated the issue. And to compound the problem, newspapers and other traditional media outlets face dwindling resources to cover trials and to challenge restrictions on access.

Attorney Kelli L. Sager, best known for her representation of the media in the access issues that arose during the Simpson trial, will address these concerns and the importance of expanding – rather than retracting – access rights in the digital age when she delivers the 34th annual Silha Lecture on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. Her Lecture is titled, “In Defense of Public Trials: Access To Court Proceedings in the Internet Age.”

Sager represents media and entertainment companies, as well as journalists, broadcasters, filmmakers, newspapers, Web publishers, and authors. Among other accolades, Chambers USA has ranked Sager for 10 consecutive years in its top tier of media attorneys in the country, and she has been one of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Lawyers in America since 2005. She is regularly included in the Los Angeles Daily Journal’s list of Top 100 Lawyers, Top Intellectual Property Litigators, and Top Women Litigators.

In 2019, Sager received the “Excellence in Advocacy” award from the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and was named Best Lawyers’ Los Angeles First Amendment and Media/Entertainment “Lawyer of the Year.” Sager has served in leadership roles in many bar associations and non-profits, including chairing the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Communications Law and the International Bar Association’s (IBA) Media Committee. She has volunteered for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for more than a decade, and is currently a member of the Courts and Community Committee.

The 34th Annual Silha Lecture is sponsored by the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law.  It will take place on Monday, October 28, 2019, starting 7:30 pm, at Cowles Auditorium at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis. No reservations or tickets are required. Parking is available in the 19th and 21st Avenue ramps. Additional information about directions and parking can be found at www.umn.edu/pts.

The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law is based at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Silha Center activities, including the annual Silha Lecture, are made possible by a generous endowment from the late Otto Silha and his wife, Helen. For further information, please contact the Silha Center at 612 625 3421 or silha@umn.edu, or visit www.silha.umn.edu