JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.
These cases require us to decide the extent to which a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence may be closed to the public over the objection of the defendant consistently
Acting under court authorization, Georgia police placed wiretaps on a number of phones during the last six months of 1981. The taps revealed a large lottery operation involved in gambling on the volume of stocks and bonds traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In early January 1982, law enforcement officers simultaneously executed search warrants at numerous locations, including the homes of petitioners. Petitioners and 35 others were indicted and charged with violating the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (Georgia RICO) Act, Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-14-1 to 16-14-15 (1982 and Supp. 1983), and with commercial gambling and communicating gambling information in violation of Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-12-22 and 16-12-28 (1982).
Prior to the separate trial of petitioners and 13 other defendants, petitioners moved to suppress the wiretaps and the evidence seized during the searches. They asserted, inter alia, that the warrants authorizing the wiretaps were unsupported by probable cause and based on overly general information, that the taps were conducted without adequate supervision, and that the resulting searches were indiscriminate, "exploratory and general." App. 11a. The State moved to close to the public any hearing on the motion to suppress. The closure motion stated that in order to validate the seizure of evidence derived from the wiretaps the State would have to introduce evidence "which [might] involve a reasonable expectation of privacy of persons other than" the defendants. Id., at 6a.
On June 21, 1982, a jury was empaneled and then excused while the court heard the closure and suppression motions. The prosecutor argued that the suppression hearing should be closed because under the Georgia wiretap statute "[a]ny publication" of information obtained under a wiretap warrant
The suppression hearing lasted seven days. The parties do not dispute that less than 2 1/2 hours were devoted to playing tapes of intercepted telephone conversations. The intercepted conversations that were played included some persons who were not then on trial, but no one who had not been named in the indictment; one person who had not been
Agreeing with the State's concession that 10 boxes of documents seized during the searches were "personal, no[n]crime related," Tr. of Suppression Hearing 635, the trial court ordered them suppressed, id., at 642; App. 19a. It refused to suppress a comparable amount of other material. The case was then tried to the jury in open court. Petitioners were acquitted of the charges under the Georgia RICO statute, but were convicted of commercial gambling and communicating gambling information. Prior to the trial of the remaining persons named in the indictment, the transcript of the suppression hearing was released to the public.
The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the convictions. 251 Ga. 124, 303 S.E.2d 437 (1983). On the open-trial issue, the court ruled that the trial court had properly balanced petitioners' rights to a public hearing against the privacy rights of others under Georgia law and the Sixth Amendment. Id., at 126-127, 303 S. E. 2d, at 441. We granted certiorari to decide whether the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a public trial applies to a suppression hearing. 464 U.S. 959 (1983). We hold that it does, and that the trial court failed to give proper weight to Sixth Amendment concerns. Accordingly, we reverse.
These cases present three questions: First, does the accused's Sixth Amendment right to a public trial extend to a suppression hearing conducted prior to the presentation of evidence to the jury? Second, if so, was that right violated here? Third, if so, what is the appropriate remedy?
This Court has not recently considered the extent of the accused's right under the Sixth Amendment to insist upon a public trial, and has never considered the extent to which that right extends beyond the actual proof at trial. We are not, however, without relevant precedents. In several recent cases, the Court found that the press and public have a qualified First Amendment right to attend a criminal trial. Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court for Norfolk County,
In each of these cases the Court has made clear that the right to an open trial may give way in certain cases to other rights or interests, such as the defendant's right to a fair trial or the government's interest in inhibiting disclosure of sensitive information. Such circumstances will be rare, however, and the balance of interests must be struck with special care. We stated the applicable rules in Press-Enterprise:
Accord, Globe Newspaper Co., supra, at 606-607; Richmond Newspapers, supra, at 580-581 (opinion of BURGER, C. J.); Gannett, 443 U. S., at 392-393 (semble); id., at 400-401 (POWELL, J., concurring); id., at 440-446 (BLACKMUN, J., dissenting in part).
In addition to ensuring that judge and prosecutor carry out their duties responsibly, a public trial encourages witnesses to come forward and discourages perjury. See In re Oliver, supra, at 270, n. 24; Douglas v. Wainwright, 714 F.2d 1532, 1541 (CA11 1983), cert. pending, Nos. 83-817, 83-995; United States ex rel. Bennett v. Rundle, 419 F.2d 599, 606 (CA3 1969).
These aims and interests are no less pressing in a hearing to suppress wrongfully seized evidence. As several of the individual opinions in Gannett recognized, suppression hearings often are as important as the trial itself. 443 U. S., at 397, n. 1 (POWELL, J., concurring); id., at 434-436 (BLACKMUN,
In addition, a suppression hearing often resembles a bench trial: witnesses are sworn and testify, and of course counsel argue their positions. The outcome frequently depends on a resolution of factual matters. See id., at 434 (BLACKMUN, J., dissenting in part). The need for an open proceeding may be particularly strong with respect to suppression hearings. A challenge to the seizure of evidence frequently attacks the conduct of police and prosecutor. As the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has noted, "[s]trong pressures are naturally at work on the prosecution's witnesses to justify the propriety of their conduct in obtaining" the evidence. Rundle, supra, at 605. The public in general also has a strong interest in exposing substantial allegations of police misconduct to the salutary effects of public scrutiny.
Applying these tests to the cases at bar, we find the closure of the entire suppression hearing plainly was unjustified. Under Press-Enterprise, the party seeking to close the hearing must advance an overriding interest that is likely to be prejudiced, the closure must be no broader than necessary to protect that interest, the trial court must consider reasonable alternatives to closing the proceeding, and it must make findings adequate to support the closure. In this case, the only evidence about which the prosecutor expressed concern was the information derived from the wiretaps; he argued that unnecessary "publication" would render the taps inadmissible under the Georgia wiretap statute. App. 13a. The Georgia Supreme Court advanced the more general, but essentially identical, interest in protecting the privacy of persons not before the court. 251 Ga., at 126-127, 303 S. E. 2d, at 441. Under certain circumstances, these interests may well justify closing portions of a suppression hearing to the public. See Press-Enterprise, 464 U. S., at 511-512.
Here, however, the State's proffer was not specific as to whose privacy interests might be infringed, how they would be infringed, what portions of the tapes might infringe them, and what portion of the evidence consisted of the tapes. As a result, the trial court's findings were broad and general, and did not purport to justify closure of the entire hearing.
The question that remains is what relief should be ordered to remedy this constitutional violation. Petitioners argue that a new trial on the merits should be ordered. The Solicitor General, appearing on behalf of the United States as amicus curiae, suggests that at most only a new suppression hearing be directed. The parties do not question the consistent view of the lower federal courts that the defendant should not be required to prove specific prejudice in order to obtain relief for a violation of the public-trial guarantee.
In these cases, it seems clear that unless the State substantially alters the evidence it presents to support the searches and wiretaps here, significant portions of a new suppression hearing must be open to the public. We remand to the state courts to decide what portions, if any, may be closed. This decision should be made in light of conditions at the time of the new hearing, and only interests that still justify closure should be considered. A new trial need be held only if a new, public suppression hearing results in the suppression of material evidence not suppressed at the first trial, or in some other material change in the positions of the parties.
The judgments below are reversed, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
"Any publication of the information or evidence obtained under a warrant issued hereunder other than that necessary and essential to the preparation of and actual prosecution for the crime specified in the warrant shall be an unlawful invasion of privacy under this Chapter, and shall cause such evidence and information to be inadmissible in any criminal prosecution." Ga. Code Ann. § 26-3004(k) (1977 and Supp. 1981) (subsequently recodified as § 16-11-64(b)(8)).
Petitioners' second Fourth Amendment challenge is that police so "flagrant[ly] disregard[ed]" the scope of the warrants in conducting the seizures at issue here that they turned the warrants into impermissible general warrants. Petitioners rely on lower court cases such as United States v. Heldt, 215 U. S. App. D. C. 206, 227, 668 F.2d 1238, 1259 (1981) (per curiam), cert. denied sub nom. Hubbard v. United States, 456 U.S. 926 (1982), and United States v. Rettig, 589 F.2d 418, 423 (CA9 1978), for the proposition that in such circumstances the entire fruits of the search, and not just those items as to which there was no probable cause to support seizure, must be suppressed. Petitioners do not assert that the officers exceeded the scope of the warrant in the places searched. Rather, they say only that the police unlawfully seized and took away items unconnected to the prosecution. The Georgia Supreme Court found that all items that were unlawfully seized were suppressed. In these circumstances, there is certainly no requirement that lawfully seized evidence be suppressed as well. See, e. g., Andresen v. Maryland, 427 U.S. 463, 482, n. 11 (1976); United States v. Offices Known As 50 State Distributing Co., 708 F.2d 1371, 1376 (CA9 1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1021 (1984); United States v. Tamura, 694 F.2d 591, 597 (CA9 1982); United States v. Holmes, 452 F.2d 249, 259 (CA7 1971).
Petitioners also make a claim to an open trial under the First Amendment. In view of our holding, there is no need to discuss that claim.