Federal court access

Ninth Circuit to live stream oral arguments

Latara Appleby | Secret Courts | News | December 4, 2013
News
December 4, 2013

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco (9th Cir.) will begin live streaming proceedings on Monday. It will be the first federal court of appeals to do so, according to the Los Angeles Times.

All en banc rulings, which consist of the chief judge and 10 jurists, will be streamed. The first case it will show deals with whether or not law enforcement can collect DNA when they arrest someone.

The 9th Circuit is one of only two federal appellate courts that allow news media cameras in the courtroom. It consists of nine western states and two Pacific island jurisdictions.

Fourth Circuit to close portions of oral argument in Sterling case to the public

Andrea Papagianis | Newsgathering | News | April 19, 2012
News
April 19, 2012

Classified portions of oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. (4th Cir.) will be closed to the public in the government's case against ex-CIA official Jeffrey Sterling, who is charged with violating the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information. Only arguments pertaining to the subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen will be heard in open court.

U.S. judges to colleagues: put fewer civil cases under seal

Kirsten Berg | Secret Courts | Feature | September 13, 2011
Feature
September 13, 2011

Too many civil lawsuits are closed off to the public, according to the policy-making body of the federal justice system, which unanimously recommended today that U.S. judges limit the number of cases kept under seal.

Center releases pocket guide for sealed courts

Lyndsey Wajert | Secret Courts | Feature | February 25, 2011
Feature
February 25, 2011

Federal judges who decide whether or not to seal a court case can turn to a Federal Judicial Center pocket guide, which includes a brief history of case law on secret courts and a checklist of First and Sixth Amendment considerations.

Gag order removed in judge's sexual abuse case

Cristina Abello | Newsgathering | Quicklink | February 27, 2009
Quicklink
February 27, 2009

The judge overseeing the sexual abuse trial against U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent has lifted a gag order in the case that had been challenged by journalists in an emergency motion, the Houston Chronicle reports.  

Newspaper asks Supreme Court to review secret docket

Rory Eastburg | Secret Courts | Quicklink | September 15, 2008
Quicklink
September 15, 2008

A legal newspaper in Pennsylvania has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision that allowed all records in a federal employment discrimination case to be hidden from the public.

Federal court district weighs cutting back on plea agreement availability

Jason Wiederin | Secret Courts | Feature | September 12, 2008
Feature
September 12, 2008

Two Utah newspapers sounded the alarms this week over a rule up for debate in the federal district court there that would heavily veil plea agreements in criminal cases.

Local Tex. corruption case moves along, but off the books

Kathleen Cullinan | Secret Courts | Feature | August 7, 2008
Feature
August 7, 2008

A long-simmering federal inquiry into public corruption in El Paso, Tex. has apparently yielded nine guilty pleas so far. Local attorneys, elected officials and judges have been swept up in the probe. Dozens of search warrants have been served, thousands of dollars seized.

Wiretap surveillance alone lasted two years.  

Death penalty proceeding to be open, after all

Stacey Laskin | Secret Courts | Quicklink | July 17, 2008
Quicklink
July 17, 2008

A federal judge in Idaho reversed his own decision closing a sentencing-related hearing today in the case of a man convicted of killing four people, including two children.

Federal courts committee supports online plea bargains

Corinna Zarek | Secret Courts | Reaction | March 21, 2008
Reaction
March 21, 2008

A committee formed by the Federal Judiciary to consider whether criminal plea agreements should be removed from public access on the Internet rejected the Department of Justice proposal that would have allowed for access only to the physical records at federal courthouses around the country.