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Parnell v. Parnell

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  1. Local Legal Initiative

Case Number: 17-90403

Court: Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, Pennsylvania

Client: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Motion to Intervene Filed: Oct. 5, 2021

Background: In September 2021, a few months after announcing his candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, Republican Sean Parnell filed a motion in court seeking a “gag” order to shield records from the public related to a custody battle with his estranged wife.

On behalf of the Inquirer, which has reported on Parnell’s bid for Congress and the controversy surrounding his custody trial, Reporters Committee attorneys filed a motion to intervene in the case, arguing that the public has a constitutional and common law right to access the court records.

Update: In a court order issued on Oct. 14, 2021, Clarion County Senior Judge James Arner denied Parnell’s request to seal all records in the custody case. The judge also denied the Inquirer’s motion to intervene, as well as a separate motion to intervene filed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


2021-10-05: Motion to intervene

2021-10-14: Court order