E. Grand jury records

Overview

Records offederal grand jury proceedings remain confidential “to the extent and as long as necessary to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of a matter occurring before a grand jury.” Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 6(e)(6). It is left to the court to determine when to release such records, and the Third Circuit noted that there is no presumptive First Amendment or common law right of access to court documents involving materials presented before a grand jury. U.S. v. Smith, 123 F.3d 140, 143 (3rd Cir. 1997). Access to state grand jury transcripts varies. California Penal Code Section 938.1, for example, provides that the grand jury “transcript shall not be open to the public until 10 days after its delivery to the defendant or the defendant’s attorney,” but “[t]hereafter the transcript shall be open to the public unless the court orders otherwise....”

6th Cir.