Supreme Judicial Court, February 12, 2014

The closure of a courtroom for the entire jury empanelment process is not de minimis and does constitute a violation of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a public trial.

Where defense counsel is aware that the court room is closed to the public to facilitate jury empanelment and does not object, the defendant’s right to a public trial during that portion of the proceedings has been waived.   

Failure to raise an objection by an experienced trial attorney, aware of the general practice of the courthouse to a courtroom closure during jury empanelment, does not fall "measurably below that which might be expected from an ordinary, fallible lawyer" Commonwealth v. Saferian, 366 Mass. 89, 96 (1974), and thus, does not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel.