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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Incredibly and inexplicably, camera coverage of federal courts continues to be shot down because of baseless speculation and misinformation. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) lost a battle to allow coverage of federal district courts after his colleagues got skittish. (The requirement to allow cameras in Supreme Court hearings lives on, but the Court will probably ignore it if it passes.)