The Reporters Committee wrote to the court clerk and a three-judge panel at the D.C. Circuit Court, asking them to give public insight into proceedings in a sealed case involving Jeffrey Thompson, a businessman accused of running a shadow campaign for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. The District Court had released a redacted version of an opinion dealing with documents seized from Thompson in a federal raid. Thompson appealed, and the D.C. Circuit issued a completely sealed opinion.
Under a recent Delaware law, sitting Chancery Court judges may serve as arbitrators in secret arbitration cases between corporations. The Delaware Coalition for Open Government (DCOG) sued the Chancery Court judges to block the scheme, arguing that it violated First Amendment rights of public access to judicial proceedings. The U.S. District Court in Delaware struck down the law as unconstitutional, holding that the secret arbitration scheme was tantamount to a civil trial and public rights of access applied.
A federal trial court judge in California ordered that many of the documents in the patent litigation between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics should be publicly released, and the two technology companies have appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit, which oversees patent appeals.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and a number of other organizations moved to intervene in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning for access to documents filed in connection with the proceeding. The trial court denied the request, a decision that was affirmed by the military's intermediate appellate court. CCR appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the military's highest appellate court. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 30 news media organizations, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of CCR's position.
In United States v. Roe, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York (2nd Cir.) found last year that a court order prohibiting a lawyer from disseminating sealed court records involved in the prosecution of John Doe, an unnamed businessman turned government cooperator, did not violate the attorney's First Amendment rights.
Courthouse News Service challenged a policy of the Ventura County, Calif., Superior Court that withholds from public inspection records filed with the court until after the court completes its processing, which takes several days and sometimes much longer. Courthouse News filed an action in federal court, claiming that the procedure violates its First Amendment-based right of public access. The trial court dismissed the case, holding that federal courts should not unduly interfere with pending and future state court proceedings.
A media coalition comprising 47 national and local news organizations and associations, including The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, wrote the U.S. Department of Defense to express concern about reports that journalists covering the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning have been unable to view documents filed in the proceeding.
The Massachusetts Legislature is considering a bill that would impose criminal charges against members of the media and others who, in connection with any criminal proceeding, disclose documents that divulge information about a child involved in the proceeding, regardless of the source of such documents or information. The bill requires all documents that include such information to be filed under seal, without court order, with a redacted version made publicly available.
The Delaware Coalition for Open Government brought a lawsuit in federal court against the Delaware Chancery Court, its judges and the state challenging as facially unconstitutional Chancery Court rules that allow blanket confidentiality in private arbitration proceedings and records, including court-supervised settlement agreements.
Urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to further consider a judge's decision to seal documents related to the government's involuntary detention of crime victims to ensure their appearances as trial witnesses.
Urging the Ohio Supreme Court to recognize that bills of particulars function as supplements to public indictments and are subject to the public's First Amendment right of access to criminal proceedings and records.