Just days into an unprecedented effort to open Los Angeles County children’s courts to the press, Judge D. Zeke Zeidler weighed the case of a young boy whose abuse injuries raised concerns that he might never be able to run again and have confined him to a medical facility for many months, reports the city’s Times. The hearing at Edelman Children’s Court in Monterey Park was the sort of proceeding almost never viewed by the media or outsiders prior to an order handed down last week.
Children’s Court Presiding Judge Michael Nash last week ordered those courtrooms to be open to the press, except in cases when a judge finds that it would be harmful to the child involved. Nash argues that openness will bring accountability to the process and that his order implements a state law allowing people with a “legitimate interest” to attend court proceedings. Social workers, elected officials and others have argued that the order overreaches and intrudes on the privacy of children who have already suffered mistreatment. The Children’s Law Center, which represents most children in the system, asked the state appeals court to immediately overturn Nash’s initiative.