Hawaii high court upholds high standards for open proceedings in murder case

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Secret Courts | News | July 17, 2014
July 17, 2014

The Supreme Court of Hawaii this week in Oahu Publications Inc. v. The Honorable Karen Ahn upheld a strong public right of access to criminal proceedings and announced a series of procedures to protect that right. The ruling comes after a trial court judge held five secret sessions and sealed the transcripts of those sessions during a high-profile murder trial.

The decision stressed that judicial proceedings are presumptively open. The high court held that, in order to close a courtroom or seal transcripts, a judge must show on the record what compelling interest would be harmed by public disclosure, the substantial risk to that harm, and any alternatives to public access that the court considered but found insufficiently protective.

Judge unseals transcripts in Hawaii murder trial

Jamie Schuman | Secret Courts | News | March 3, 2014
March 3, 2014

The Hawaii judge who closed the courtroom multiple times during the last day of a high-profile murder trial has unsealed the transcripts from that proceeding in response to a motion by The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now.

Government argues FOIA would provide sufficient access to Manning court-martial documents

Emily Miller | Newsgathering | News | July 10, 2012
July 10, 2012

The federal government asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces on Monday to become the third court to deny the public access to military court documents in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning. The government’s argument: the Freedom of Information Act is the proper method to obtain the materials.

Federal court finds Bloomberg's publication of copyrighted conference call recording to be fair use

Raymond Baldino | Content Regulation | News | May 22, 2012
May 22, 2012

A federal court last week rejected a copyright infringement lawsuit against Bloomberg L.P. for its unauthorized publication of a conference call between a corporation's senior executives and a group of securities analysts, finding that the business and financial news publisher was protected from liability by the fair use doctrine.

Va. court unseals records in molestation trial involving politician's husband

Rachel Bunn | Secret Courts | News | March 27, 2012
March 27, 2012

Transcripts of pretrial hearings in the case of a Virginia man accused of molesting three girls at his daughter’s slumber party were made publicly available by a Virginia state court, reversing an emergency order to seal the records in February.

Judge William T. Newman, Jr. unsealed the records on March 22. He was unavailable for comment and it was not clear why he decided to make them public.

Army will release records in court-martial transcript case

Christine Beckett | Freedom of Information | Feature | March 29, 2011
March 29, 2011

After being sued under the federal Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Army has agreed to release unredacted copies of court-martial proceeding transcripts to Siobhan Esposito from the murder trial of her husband's alleged killer. The Army had previously cited privacy concerns of the military personnel involved in the trial when it initially redacted the names of witnesses, lawyers and the judge that participated in the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez from the transcripts.

Army denies military transcripts under privacy exemption

Christine Beckett | Freedom of Information | Feature | January 20, 2011
January 20, 2011

The U.S. Army is being sued in federal district court after denying a military widow access to the court transcripts in the murder trial of her husband's alleged killer, citing privacy concerns of the military personnel involved in the trial. In a complaint filed Jan. 19, Siobhan Esposito requested complete transcripts from the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez.