Anthony Barkow, executive director of NYU Law’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law (CACL) argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on December 14. CACL filed an amicus brief with the court in November in U.S. v Gupta, arguing for reversal of a previous Second Circuit ruling that employed the “triviality exception” to reject Gupta’s claim that his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial had been violated. Meeting en banc to reconsider the case, the Second Circuit invited the CACL to participate in the oral argument.

The issue before the en banc panel was a trial court judge’s decision to close her courtroom during jury selection in a case in which immigration attorney Raghubir Gupta was convicted of filing fraudulent immigration documents. The CACL brief was written by Barkow, CACL attorneys Courtney Oliva and Rena Stern, and Julie Mecca ’13. Arguing the case, Barkow says, “was a great challenge and great fun.” There were 15 judges, and “nearly all were actively questioning, so there was more activity than there would be in the Supreme Court,” he noted. In fact, because there were so many questions, Barkow ended up arguing for 30 minutes, instead of the originally allocated five minutes.

An en banc argument before the Second Circuit is a rare event, and in this case drew coverage from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Law Journal.

Published December 16, 2011