H. Post-trial records

Overview

The Supreme Court has not addressed the right of access to post-trial records, though then-Judge Anthony Kennedy extended the First Amendment presumption of access to post-trial proceedings and records because he found “no principled basis for affording greater confidentiality to post-trial documents and proceedings than is given to pretrial matters. The primary justifications for access to criminal proceedings … apply with as much force to post-conviction proceedings as to the trial itself.” CBS, Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court, 765 F.2d 823, 825 (9th Cir. 1985).

Some exceptions have been carved out. Kennedy wrote that “[o]ur opinion is not to be read to disapprove the practice of keeping presentence reports confidential. We do not reach that issue, for this case is distinguishable. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure expressly provide for limited access to information contained in presentence reports.”) (citations omitted). Id. at 826.

6th Cir.