Bucci v. United States, No. 09-2468 (1st Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendants, jointly tried and convicted of drug-related crimes, unsuccessfully petitioned for habeas corpus (18 U.S.C. 2255). The First Circuit affirmed with respect to one defendant and vacated with respect to the other. A partial courtroom closure during jury selection based on crowding likely violated the Sixth Amendment because there was not a substantial justification, but one defendant procedurally defaulted the claim and did not show cause to excuse the default. Defendant's counsel's failure to object to the closure did not amount to ineffective assistance. The other defendant is entitled to a new habeas hearing because the lower court did not address an allegation that his attorney was not aware of the closure nor present to object; defendant is entitled to appointed counsel in connection with a hearing on the issue. The fact that the clerk, not the judge, effectuated the courtroom closure, was not an impermissible delegation. The judge was responsible for the decision.