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  • 2nd Circuit

    The Second Circuit has not addressed access to appellate records specifically. However, there exists the presumption that access is entitled to great weight if a party submits the document to the court for purposes of adjudication. Lugosch v. Pyramid Co., 435 F.3d 110, 114 (2d Cir. 2006). As the Second Circuit explained, once a document is submitted to the court, the public should be able to assess the correctness of the judge's decision, and "documents that the judge should have considered or relied upon, but did not, are just as deserving of disclosure as those that actually entered into the judge's decision." Id.; see also Bernsten v. O'Reilly, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70313, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 3, 2018). Therefore, according to the Court of Appeals, documents submitted to the Court for purposes of adjudication, should not remain under seal "absent the most compelling reasons." Id.; see also Cianci v. New Times Publishing Co., 88 F.R.D. 562, 565 (S.D.N.Y. 1980) (holding that in light of the parties' use of sealed documents in their arguments relating to defendants' motion to dismiss and reference to sealed deposition testimony by the trial court and the appellate court, the documents had become part of the public record and the press could not be denied access to them).

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  • 4th Circuit

    The public’s First Amendment right of access extends to appellate proceedings and records, although the presumption of access can be overcome by a compelling governmental interest. See United States v. Moussaoui, 65 F. App’x 881 (4th Cir. 2003).

    If the court concludes that sealing is warranted, the court may file its statement of the reasons for its decision under seal. In re Wash. Post Co., 807 F.2d 383, 391 (4th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted); see also United States v. Adams, 788 F.3d 115 (4th Cir. 2015) (appellate decision issued under seal).

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  • 5th Circuit

    Nothing found specific to the Fifth Circuit. Although, anecdotally, the Fifth Circuit has received and granted motions to seal briefs in extraordinary circumstances.

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  • 7th Circuit

    “Information transmitted to the court of appeals is presumptively public because the appellate record normally is vital to the case's outcome. Agreements that were appropriate at the discovery stage are no longer appropriate for the few documents that determine the resolution of an appeal, so any claim of secrecy must be reviewed independently in this court.”  Baxter International, Inc. v. Abbott Laboratories, 297 F.3d 544, 545-46 (7th Cir. 2002) (citing Seventh Circuit Operating Procedure 10). “We recognize only three classes of material subject to seal: trade secrets, information covered by a recognized privilege, and information required by statute to be maintained in confidence. . . . If the material in question falls into one of these three categories, then the two competing interests to be weighed by the court are the moving party's interest in privacy and the public's interest in transparency.” United States v. Sanford-Brown, Ltd., 788 F.3d 696, 712 (7th Cir. 2015), vacated on other grounds, 136 S. Ct. 2506 (2016), opinion reinstated in relevant part on remand, 840 F.3d 445 (7th Cir. 2016) (citing Baxter, at 546).  The public's interest in the judicial record is “especially acute” where “the government has subsidized the good or service underlying the litigation from the public fisc” and a party “subsidized by the public fisc and that seeks to seal portions of the record must satisfy a higher burden. . . .”  Id. at 712-13.

    The Seventh Circuit will “deny outright any motion under Operating Procedure 10 that does not analyze in detail, document by document, the propriety of secrecy, providing reasons and legal citations. Motions that represent serious efforts to apply the governing rules will be entertained favorably, and counsel will be offered the opportunity to repair shortcomings. Motions that simply assert a conclusion without the required reasoning, however, have no prospect of success.”  Baxter, 297 F.3d at 548; see also Union Oil Co. of California v. Leavell, 220 F.3d 562, 567 (7th Cir. 2000) (refusing request to seal all briefs on appeal and use only pseudonyms in any opinion); In re Krynicki, 983 F.2d 74 (7th Cir. 1992) (Easterbrook, J., in chambers) (denying request to seal briefs on appeal); Pepsico Inc. v. Redmond, 46 F.3d 29 (7th Cir. 1995) (denying request to seal briefs on appeal and portions of district court opinion).  Compare Sanford-Brown, Ltd., 788 F.3d at 713 (where motion concerning certain exhibits explained why each document “entail[ed] proprietary trade secrets, and provide[d] justification for why they should remain sealed,” party “satisfied its high burden”).

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  • 8th Circuit

    There appears to be no Eighth Circuit case law discussing the right of access to civil appellate records.

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  • Alabama

    Subject to the provisions of Holland v. Eads, 614 So. 2d 1012, 1016 (Ala. 1993), appellate records should be available to the public.

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  • Arizona

    No published decisions.

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  • Arkansas

    The record and accompanying briefs, motions, or other filings in all adoption appeals shall be sealed. Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 6-3(a). The Clerk shall ensure that the public docket use initials to identify juveniles in those appeals. Counsel and the Court shall preserve the juvenile’s anonymity by using initials in all subsequent captions, opinions, motions, and briefs, as well as in oral argument, if any. The record and papers on appeal shall be open for inspection only to counsel and parties of record, or, only upon order of the Court after review of a written motion. In any other appeal in which counsel for either side believes that a person’s identity should be protected by the Court, counsel may move the Court to do so. Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 6-3(a).

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  • California

    The presumption of access to civil court records applies to appellate records. See, e.g., McNair v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, 234 Cal. App. 4th 25, 183 Cal. Rptr. 3d 490 (2015) (mandating access to pre-trial papers lodged as part of an appellate record).

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  • Colorado

    The Colorado Judicial Department’s Public Access to Court Records policy (“Public Access Policy”) (pdf) expressly applies to “all electronically filed (e-filed) or served (e-service) documents in accordance with the rules of the Supreme Court . . . .” (Section 4.00.)  In general, all “[i]nformation in the court record is accessible to the public,” and “court record” is broadly defined.  (Section 3.03(a); Section 4.10.)  The Public Access Policy restricts access to records in certain types of cases or to certain documents, absent a contrary court order.  (Section 4.60.)

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  • District of Columbia

    At least one federal district court in the District of Columbia has also addressed public access to agency administrative records and—while not reaching the issue of whether there is a First Amendment right of access—has held that “access to administrative records is favored by public policy and that this interest is substantive and entitled to [Administrative Procedure Act] protection.” Nat’l Ass’n of Waterfront Emp’rs v. Solis, 665 F. Supp. 2d 10, 17 n.11 (D.D.C. 2009).

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  • Florida

    Access to records online is currently governed by Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order 14-19, as amended. Currently all but a small number of counties are in the process of implementing pilot programs to provide free, online access to court records. Access levels will be governed by the Access Security Matrix Standards adopted by the Florida Supreme Court in AOSC 14-19. This initiative is an outgrowth of the Manatee County (Bradenton, Florida) pilot program to provide court records free online. Remote electronic access to dockets is also provided in most circuits, at both the trial and appellate levels. Upon request, however, clerks are authorized to send court records via email. In addition, court records in cases designated “high profile” are made available online.

    Digital recordings of court proceedings are accessible public court records in Florida.

    At least one appellate court has supported a journalist’s ability to use a laptop computer in the courtroom to live blog during a high profile criminal trial in Duval County (Jacksonville, Florida). See Morris Publishing Co. v. State, No. 1D10-226, 2010 WL 363318 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Jan. 20, 2010).

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  • Georgia

    Appellate records are presumptively open. See Atlanta Journal-Constitution v. Long, 259 Ga. 23, 24 (1989).

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  • Idaho

    Idaho Appellate Rule 31(b) recognizes that some confidential documents used at the trial court level must be transmitted with the record on appeal.  In appeals from proceedings exempt from disclosure, the Idaho Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals may in their rulings use substitute designations such as “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” or further deletions to preserve the anonymity of participants in the proceeding.  I.C.A.R. 32(h).

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  • Indiana

    Appellate records are open to public access unless Administrative Rule 9(G) excludes them. Ind. Admin. Rule 9(D)(1). Indiana uses the Odyssey case management system, which allows the public to search cases by case numbers, party names, or attorneys: https://public.courts.in.gov/mycase/#/vw/Search.

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  • Iowa

    Generally, court records filed in the office of the clerk of court are public records open to inspection under Iowa Code Chapter 22. In Iowa, “[e]very person shall have the right to examine and copy a public record and to publish or otherwise disseminate a public record or the information contained in a public record.” Iowa Code § 22.2 (2018). Certain records, such as minutes of testimony that accompany a county attorney’s information, are confidential by court rule.

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  • Kansas

    A presumption of openness applies to appellate records in civil cases under the Kansas Open Records Act, 45-215 et seq., as implemented by the Kansas Judicial Branch.  See Kansas Judicial Branch, Administrative Order No. 156, Administration of the Kansas Open Records Acthttp://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/supreme-court/administrative-orders/Admin-order-156.pdf.  Rules in appellate cases are accessible on the Kansas Judicial Branch’s website.  See  Cases and Opinions, Kansas Judicial Branch, http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/default.asp.  Records associated with appellate cases may be requested from the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, http://www.kscourts.org/appellate-clerk.

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  • Kentucky

    No Kentucky cases deal specifically with appellate records.  However, they are presumptively open under the principles set forth in Courier-Journal & Louisville Times Co. v. Peers, 747 S.W.2d 125 (Ky. 1988), and Fiorella v. Paxton Media Grp., LLC, 424 S.W.3d 433 (Ky. Ct. App. 2014).  Appellate dockets, along with limited appellate records, are publicly available online at https://courts.ky.gov/Pages/legal.aspx.

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  • Louisiana

    There should be no different standards for access to appellate records than for access to pretrial records. See the “pretrial motions and records” section above. Typically, such records are obtained simply by going to the clerk’s office and asking for the record.

    Supreme Court Rule V, § 5, addresses sealed documents: “When a Motion to Seal is filed, the motion and the documents, subject of motion, will be filed under seal and will remain under seal until the court takes action on the motion. If the motion is granted, the order will become public and the motion and documents will remain under seal. If the motion is denied, the motion and documents will be available to the public unless the court order allows the filing party to retrieve the motion and documents. Motions and documents filed under seal will only be viewable by authorized court personnel unless otherwise indicated in the order to seal.”

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  • Maine

    Appellate records, both civil and criminal, are public.  See M.R.App.P. 12B.

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  • Maryland

    There are no judicial decisions, rules, or statutes related specifically to access to appellate records. Nevertheless, in Baltimore Sun Co. v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, 755 A.2d 1130, 1134 (Md. 2000), the Court of Appeals declared broadly that the “common law principle of openness is not limited to the trial itself, but applies generally to court proceedings and documents.”

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  • Minnesota

    In Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Schumacher,  392 N.W.2d 197, 202–03 (Minn. 1986), the Minnesota Supreme Court recognized the common law presumption in favor of granting the public the right to inspect and copy court records and documents. This common law presumption of access has been characterized as “strong.” Id. at 203.  In addition, the Minnesota Supreme Court has adopted The Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch which provide that as a general policy, the “[r]ecords of all courts and court administrators … are presumed to be open to any member of the public for inspection or copying at all times during the regular office hours.” Minn. R. Pub. Access Rec’ds. Jud. Br. 2. “Records” are defined as “any recorded information that is collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by a court or court administrator.” Id. 3, subd. 5. Rules 7 and 8 dictate the procedure for requesting access, which is straightforward and does not require the payment of a fee unless otherwise established by statute; however, when copies are requested, the custodian may charge a copy fee. Id. 8; subd. 6.

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  • Montana

    All appellate records are open to the public unless the court has sealed some document or record.

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  • Nebraska

    Information required by statute to be confidential remains confidential when included in an appellate record. Neb. Ct. R. App. Prac. § 2-109(D) provides:

    (D) Contents of Briefs. BRIEFS FILED WITH THE CLERK OF THE SUPREME COURT AND COURT OF APPEALS SHALL NOT BE CONFIDENTIAL. A brief shall not contain a reproduction, quotation, or extensive paraphrase of material which is declared by any statute or other rule of the Supreme Court to be confidential. Instead, parties or counsel may include a citation in the brief, as set forth in § 2-109(C)(1) to (3), to the portion of the record which is confidential.

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  • Nevada

    A civil court record or any portion of it that was sealed in the trial court shall be made available to the Nevada Supreme Court in the event of an appeal. Court records sealed in the trial court shall be sealed from public access in the Nevada Supreme Court subject to further order of that court. SRCR 7.

    All events and actions taken in administrative matters or in the preparation and circulation of draft opinions or orders, bench memoranda, and memoranda and correspondence between chambers or staff concerning pending cases shall be confidential, as shall the events, actions, and votes that are taken at any draft or post-argument conference. The contents of orders or opinions shall remain confidential until filed by the clerk of the court and released to the public.

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  • New Hampshire

    The right of access, discussed in “Overcoming a presumption of openness” above, applies to appellate records.

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  • New Mexico

    Rule 12-314 NMRA dictates that “court records are subject to public access unless sealed by order of the court or otherwise protected from disclosure under the provisions of this rule.” Because “court record” is defined as “all or any portion of a document, paper, exhibit, transcript, or other material filed or lodged with the court, and the register of actions and docket entries used by the court to document the activity in a case,” it follows that appellate records are allowed the same presumption to public access. As such, appellate records shall be open to the public absent statutory exclusion, see NMSA 1978, § 32A-58(C); NMSA 1978, § 24-1-15(J); NMSA 1978, § 24-2B-5.1(B); and NMSA 1978, § 40-11A-625, or a court order to the contrary. The order must set forth the court’s findings that:

    “(a) the existence of an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the court record:

    (b) the overriding interest supports sealing the court record;

    (c) a substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the court record is not sealed;

    (d) the proposed sealing is narrowly tailored; and

    (e) no less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest.”

    Rule 12-314.

    The order shall require the sealing of the record only to the extent necessary. Id. The order shall further specify who is authorized to have access to the sealed court record and a date or event upon which it expires or shall explicitly state that the order remains in effect until further order of the court. The order shall specify any person or entity entitled to notice of any future motion to unseal the court record or modify the sealing order. Id.

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  • North Dakota

    Court records related to the following are confidential: (1) Juvenile court proceedings; (2) Mental health commitment proceedings; (3) Social security numbers; credit, debit, or electronic fund transfer card numbers; and financial account numbers; (4)  Adoption and paternity proceedings; (5)  Domestic violence protection order files - except for the final order of the court; (6) Psychological evaluations and drug and alcohol treatment records; (7) The property and debt listing of the parties to a divorce as provided by N.D.C.C. § 14-05-24.3; (8) Documents filed with the court for in-camera examination pending disclosure; (9) Case information and documents in Child Relinquishment to Identified Adoptive Parent cases brought under N.D.C.C. ch. 14-15.1; (10) names of qualified or summoned jurors and contents of jury qualification forms if disclosure is prohibited or restricted by order of the court; (11) judge and court personnel work material, including personal calendars, communications from law clerks, bench memoranda, notes, work in progress, draft documents and non-finalized documents; (12) party, witness and crime victim contact information gathered and recorded by the court for administrative purposes, including telephone numbers and e-mail, street and postal addresses; and (13) the name of a patron of the North Dakota Legal Self Help Center or information sufficient to identify a patron or the subject about which a patron requested information.

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  • Pennsylvania

    No Pennsylvania decisions have addressed this issue, but it is well-established that the public and press have a constitutional right to appellate court proceedings. See, e.g., United States v. Moussaoui, 65 F. App’x 881, 890 (4th Cir. 2003) (“[t]here can be no question that the First Amendment guarantees a right of access by the public to oral arguments in the appellate proceedings . . . . Such hearings have historically been open to the public, and the very considerations that counsel in favor of openness of . . . trial support a similar degree of openness in appellate proceedings.”).

    Effective January 6, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved a new policy that governs public access to case records, 204 Pa. Code § 213.81. The policy applies to case records filed in Pennsylvania’s appellate courts.

    Remote access to the electronic case record information residing in the Pennsylvania Appellate Court Case Management System (PACMS) is available on https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/.

    Electronic case record information held on PACMS is also governed by Electronic Case Record Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, available at http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/page-1090/file-837.pdf.

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  • Utah

    The general presumption in favor of the right of public access presumably applies equally to appellate records in civil cases.  See United States v. McVeigh, 119 F.3d 806, 811 (10th Cir. 1997) (“It is clearly established that court documents are covered by a common law right of access.  Under that doctrine, judicial documents are presumptively available to the public, but may be sealed if the right to access is outweighed by the interests favoring nondisclosure.”); Utah Code § 63G-2-301(2)(f) (“judicial records” are presumptively public under GRAMA); Utah Code Jud. Admin. 4-202.02(1) (“Court records are public unless otherwise classified by this rule.”); DUCivR 5-2(a) (“The records of the court are presumptively open to the public.”).

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  • Vermont

    Not only are the proceedings of the Vermont Supreme Court presumed to be public, the Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure provide that “[t]he news media may record proceedings of the Supreme Court, unless the Chief Justice directs otherwise.”  V.R.A.P. Rule 35.  Note, however, that if records are deemed to not be publicly accessible under Vt. Pub. Acc. Ct. Rec. Rule 6, they “remain inaccessible if the case is appealed to another court.”  Vt. Pub. Acc. Ct. Rec. Rule 6(i).

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  • Virginia

    There are no reported cases in Virginia addressing the public’s right of access to appellate records.  The Fourth Circuit has held that the public’s qualified right of access extends to appellate proceedings. See United States v. Moussaoui, 65 F. App'x 881, 890 (4th Cir. 2003) (“There can be no question that the First Amendment guarantees a right of access by the public to oral arguments in the appellate proceedings of this court.”).

    Audio recordings of oral arguments since January 7, 2014 are available on the Virginia Supreme Court’s website.

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  • Washington

    The public’s right of access to court proceedings includes the right of access to case records, and any limitations are subject to the five-factor Bone-Club/Ishikawa test.  Dreiling v. Jain, 151 Wn.2d 900, 915, 93 P.3d 861, 870 (2004).

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  • West Virginia

    Rule 40 of the West Virginia Rules of Appellate Procedure governs public access to appellate records, whether from an appeal of civil case or any other case.  Id., http://www.courtswv.gov/legal-community/court-rules/appellate-procedure/Part-IX.html#rule40 .  The “general rule” is that, “[i]n all cases in which relief is sought in the Supreme Court, all pleadings, docket entries, and filings related thereto . . . shall be available for public access unless otherwise provided by law or by a rule of this Court, or unless otherwise ordered by the Court in accordance with [Rule 40].”

    If the case record from the lower court includes records the lower court determined to be confidential, such records will remain confidential upon the appeal.  However, “[a]ny party or other person with standing may file a motion to unseal the case record or portion of a case record in this Court, setting forth good cause why the case record should no longer be confidential [and] the Court may, in its discretion, issue an order unsealing all or part of the case record, or issue an order denying the motion.”  Likewise, a party or other person with standing may move to seal a portion of the case record on appeal.

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  • Wyoming

    Appellate records are presumed open to the public unless subject to closure in accordance with the court rules.

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