09F

F. Privacy

F. Privacy

Overview

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania courts recognize that privacy interests may, in some circumstances, justify closure.  See Zdrok v. Zdrok, 829 A.2d 697, 700 (Pa. Super. 2003) (noting that closure may be justified to protect “the privacy and reputations of innocent parties”) (quoting Katz v. Katz, 356 Pa. Super. 461, 514 A.2d 1374 (Pa. Super. 1986) (citations omitted)).

In Commonwealth v. Hayes, 414 A.2d 318, 324-327 (Pa. 1980), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the defendant’s contention that holding a pretrial suppression hearing in open court jeopardized his right of privacy, finding that such a privacy concern “does not warrant engrafting such a significant intrusion upon the basic right of access of the public in criminal proceedings.”

F. Privacy

Overview

New Jersey

Strong privacy interests may constitute “good cause” to overcome the presumption of openness. For example, one court sealed the plaintiff’s medical exhibits as presented by the defendant, recognizing the plaintiff had a right to privacy in his medical information and there were no alternatives to sealing to protect this privacy right. See Locascio v. Balicki, 2011 WL 2490832 (D.N.J. June 22, 2011). 

F. Privacy

Overview

Maryland

Privacy concerns are at the heart of many of the limitations placed on disclosure of court records contained in Rule 16-1006, which limits access to records concerning children, certain sensitive medical records, and tax returns. See Sections I.D., V.A. & VIII, supra.

F. Privacy

Overview

Kansas

A Kansas law provides that, after a hearing, a judge may deny access to court proceedings or records on the basis of an identified “privacy interest.”  K.S.A. 60-2617(d).    In addition, the Kansas Open Records Act authorizes withholding of information if it “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”  K.S.A. 45-221(a)(30).   However, in Wichita Eagle Beacon Co. v. Owens, 27 P.3d 881 (Kan.,2001), the Kansas Supreme Court said that trial judges need to weigh the public interest in openness against any asserted interest in closure of proceedings or records.  The state supreme court said that trial judges should have the

F. Privacy

Overview

4th Cir.

F. Privacy

Overview

Delaware

F. Privacy

Overview

Missouri

F. Privacy

Overview

South Carolina

F. Privacy

Overview

5th Cir.

Protection of a minor’s privacy interests and psychological rights can override the presumption of openness guaranteed by the Constitution. U.S. v. Hitt, 473 F.3d 146, 154 (5th Cir. 2006).

Protecting jurors from harassment and invasion of privacy is a legitimate concern, and thus narrowly tailored restrictions intended to prevent real threats to the administration of justice and subsequent prosecutions can be valid justifications for denial of access. U.S. v. Brown, 250 F.3d 907, 921 (5th Cir. 2001)

F. Privacy

Overview

Florida

Privacy has been asserted and recognized as a basis for closure on a number of occasions, especially where it is records which are at issue. E.g., Post-Newsweek Stations, Fla. Inc. v. Doe, 612 So. 2d 549 (Fla. 1992) (privacy interests of non-parties in criminal case recognized as possible basis for closure of records; however, no right of privacy exists to engage in criminal behavior); Barron v. Florida Freedom Newspapers, Inc., 531 So. 2d 113 (Fla. 1988) (privacy interest recognized for civil litigants).