C. Other proceedings involving minors
The need to protect the physical and psychological well-being of individuals related to the litigation, including family members and particularly minors, may justify restricting public access, especially when the defendant may have cooperated with law enforcement. See United States v. Harris, 890 F.3d 480 (4th Cir. 2018) (citing, inter alia, Globe Newspaper Co. v. Super. Ct., 457 U.S. 596, 607 (1982)). However, only the portion of the record pertaining to the perceived harm should be sealed. See id. (remanding with instructions to file a publicly available redacted version of a sentencing memorandum).
Divorce hearings are presumptively open, but “are the type of proceedings which courts may close to protect the rights of the parties.” Katz v. Katz, 514 A.2d 1374, 1380 (Pa. Super. 1986); see also R.W. v. Hampe, 626 A.2d 1218, 1222 (Pa. Super. 1993) (“Divorce cases present one exception to the general rule of openness. The subject matter of divorce litigation serves, in many cases, ‘only to embarrass and humiliate’ the litigants.” (citation omitted)).
In Storms v. O’Malley, the Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of a physician’s motion to seal the record in a medical malpractice case involving a minor. 779 A.2d 548, 570 (Pa. Super. 2001). The Superior Court held that “the minor’s interest in secrecy was not significant in light of the fact that she and her family no longer reside[d] in the area.” Id. at 569.
The Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts; No. 477 Judicial Administration requires that certain information in judicial filings concerning minors be kept confidential. Such information includes a minor’s name, date of birth, and educational records. See 204 Pa. Code § 213.81.
See State v. Roders, 125 Wis. 2d 572, 373 N.W.2d 85 (Wis. App. 1985) (unpublished) (Court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the defendant’s request to exclude the parents of minor victims from the courtroom during a criminal trial); see also State v. G.B., 204 Wis. 2d 108, 552 N.W.2d 897 (Ct. App. 1996) (unpublished).