Judge Rules Transit Hearings Can't Be Closed

Monday, Dec 28, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM EDT
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Judge Rules Transit Hearings Can't Be Closed

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transit strike that began December 20.

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A federal judge in New York City has ruled as unconstitutional the closing of thousands of transit hearings where civil fines are imposed on people who violate transit rules.
    
The ruling by federal Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan was made public Monday.
    
The decision came in a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union against NYC Transit. In 2008, the agency blocked members of the public from attending nearly 20,000 hearings arising from violations of rules in the city's transit system.

The NYCLU said "that this practice shrouds the hearings in secrecy, depriving the public of information about the fairness of the hearing process and accused transit riders of an understanding of the adjudication process, and concealing important public information concerning police activity in the public transit system."
    
The city's law office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said the ruling confirms that there is "no room for a secret court in New York City."

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