The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a judge cannot order the news media to suppress the name and picture of a juvenile identified in public judicial proceedings held in connection with the prosecution of a crime.
Such an order is a prior restraint of publication in violation to the constitutional guarantee of a free press, the court said in an unsigned opinion.
The case involved 11-year-old Larry Donnell Brewer, charged with delinquency by second-degree murder in the death last July of a railroad employee who was shot while working in Oklaboma County, Okla.
Reporters attended an open Juvenile Court detention hearing where they learned the boy's name. Afterward, in a public alleyway, a photographer took his picture. Authorities, who were taking the youth from the County Courthouse to a car, did not interfere.
Stories using the boy's name and his picture appeared in the three Oklahoma City newspapers and elsewhere.
Later, on the basis of an unannounced, closed hearing, County District Court Judge Charles E. Halley issued a gag order barring publishers and broadcasters from using the boy's name or photo until he becomes 18.
Upholding Halley, the Okalahoma Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment guarantee of free press must yield to Oklahoma laws that cloak juvenile proceedings in privacy to protect a minor's "right of rehabilitation."
The Oklahoma Publishing Co., publisher of the Daily Oklahoman, the Oklahoma City Times and the Sunday Oklahoman, joined by the American Newspaper Publishers Association, Newspaper Publishers Association, contended that the Constitution does not countenance a prior restraint on broadly disseminated and lawfully obtained information.
The high court, without recorded dissent, said its agreement was "compelled" by two of its recent decisions.
In a 1975 ruling, the court barred state sanctions on accurate publication of the name of a rape victim "which was publicly revealed in connection with the prosecution of a crime."
In a 1976 decision, the court invalidated an order prohibiting the press from publishing certain information tending to show the guilt of a defendant in an impending trial.
Motorists need extra time to pass 65-foot-long twin trailers, which consist of a tractor and two 27-foot trailers. For that reason, 13 states and the District of Columbia rate them a safety hazard and bar them from interstate highways. Seventeen states prohibit them and three allow them only on certain roads.
In Wisconsin, a ban on the vehicles from interstate highways makes the state an "island" between Detriot and Seattle. Truckers complain that they must disassemble the combinations before entering Wisconsin and reassemble them on leaving.
Raymond Motor Transportation Inc. and Consolidated Freightways of Delaware sued on the ground that the Wisconsin ban enroaches on the exclusive power or Congress to regulate interestate commerce, but they lost before a panel of three federal judges. Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to review the decision. AIR TRAVEL
In 1971 and 1972, about 17,000 people bought 14- to 21-day "Mini-Plan" World Airlines Inc. and Flying Mercury Inc.
The plans were so-called group-inclusive tours (GITS) providing discounted fares and land packages including lodging. There was one rigid requirement: a buyer had to check in at the lodging - for which he'd paid in advance - by 6 p.m. on the day of arrival or he would not be able to stay there at all.
But the lodging for the London tour proved to be in Dumfries, Scotland, 350 miles from the point of arrival; for the Athens tour it was 480 miles away and for the Zurich tour it was 185 miles away.
Seventeen "Mini-Plan" purchasers sued for refunds, claiming an implied private right of action for alleged violation of government-approved fares. The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Federal Aviation Act gave them no such right. The Supreme Court let the ruling stand.