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Proposal to Revise Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)

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  1. Court Access

On April 7, 2020, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sent a letter on behalf of a news media coalition to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts’ Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure recommending that Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure be amended to make it clear that district courts have the authority to allow disclosure of certain grand jury materials to the public.

The letter, signed by 30 media organizations, supports the recommendation made by Public Citizen Litigation Group and other historical organizations and societies that Rule 6(e) be amended, but also recommends that the rule be adjusted to include the list of factors identified by the Second Circuit which allow courts flexibility to balance the public interest in disclosure with that in grand jury secrecy on a case-by-case basis. These include the reason the disclosure is being sought (for example, public interest in cases of historical or social significance), the identity of the party seeking disclosure, and whether the defendant in the grand jury case opposes the disclosure, among others. The release of grand jury materials can serve the public by offering a more complete record of an important historical event.

Read the full Reporters Committee letter.