The Daily News (December 2, 2016)
York Town Justice Walter Purtell violated the US Bill of Rights by closing his courtroom. The judge, a retired trooper, illegally closed court for the arraignment of State Police Major Rick Allen’s daughter.
Purtell’s seat is up for re-election in 2017. When he starts violating individuals’ civil liberties protected by the U.S. Constitution – time to leave the bench.
A closed arraignment
Reporters were initially held at the bottom of the stairs as the arraignment was going on in Purtell’s second-story courtroom.
A man who identified himself as a family liaison, and who was later identified by Purtell as a victim’s specialist with New York State Police, told reporters the courtroom was closed.
When asked in his courtroom whether he had closed Allen’s arraignment to media, Purtell nodded his head and said “yes.”
Allen was joined in Purtell’s closed courtroom by her defense attorney, Meyers-Buth; Livingston County District Attorney Greg McCaffrey; her parents, Sharon and Richard Allen; the two Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies who transported her to the courthouse; and, near the end of the arraignment, the man who identified himself as a “family liaison” and a bail bondsman.