Five Utah news organizations asked a federal judge to unseal records Monday that relate to the highly publicized kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, the Associated Press reported.
The Deseret News, The Salt Lake Tribune, the state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Press Association and the AP cited a compelling public interest in the documents, including a report about defendant Brian David Mitchell’s mental competency. They argued that the court should have notified the press that it intended to seal them.
The press groups also said the court failed to list the sealed documents on the public docket, with reporters learning of their existence only after prosecutors quoted the competency report in a filing. Defense attorneys asked the judge to sanction prosecutors for including the information in a public filing.