Missouri appeals court overturns conviction
JOPLIN (AP) - A Missouri appeals court has overturned the conviction of a 35-year-old Oklahoma man on assault and kidnapping charges because the trial judge restricted public access to jury selection.
The Court of Appeals for the Southern District of Missouri ruled that the judge violated Johnny Davis Jr.'s right to a public trial by closing the courtroom during the voir dire portion of his trial last year.
The Joplin Globe reports that Davis was convicted of kidnapping and assaulting two women south of Joplin in 2011 and sentenced to four, concurrent 15-year terms in Missouri after he finishes a 30-year sentence in Oklahoma.
In its July ruling, the appeals court cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming that the constitutional guarantee of a public trial extends to jury selection.