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Access / FOIA

May 2022

The Intercept Fights for Public Records in North Dakota

Victoria Noble

While this decision was an indelible win for government transparency, The Intercept’s ongoing, costly fight to access the records at issue should serve as a cautionary tale to news organizations considering bringing similar cases.

Apr 2022

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules to Release Police Disciplinary Records  

CJ Griffin and Brittany Burns

The Court issued two major unanimous decisions ordering the disclosure of records involving law enforcement misconduct and access to settlement agreements that resolve discipline which reshape the landscape for the state’s Open Public Records Act and common law access.

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Apr 2022

The Fight for the Public’s Right to Access Videos of the Landmark Prop 8 Trial Again Moves to the U.S. Supreme Court

Sara A. Fairchild, Thomas R. Burke, and Rochelle L. Wilcox

More than a decade after the landmark trial that found California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the proposition’s proponents have now asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a recent Ninth Circuit decision that would finally allow the public to access video recordings of the trial.

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Feb 2022

Court Orders Disclosure of Redacted Briefs in Constitutional Challenge to Substance Use Treatment Law

Jack Greiner and Darren Ford

The Kentucky Supreme Court recently held that a news organization was entitled to redacted copies of briefs filed in appeals raising constitutional challenges to a Kentucky substance use disorder treatment law.

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Dec 2021

Public’s Right of Access to Juror Information Loses More Ground … and What We Can Do About It

Steve Zansberg

A recent spate of high-profile cases, across the country, demonstrate that many judges, in both state and federal courts, are of the view that there is no presumption of public access to the names of seated jurors, not only at the outset of a trial, but even post-verdict.

Dec 2021

Ninth Circuit: Searching a Database Is Not Creation of New Record

Shawn Musgrave

Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting (“CIR”) succeeded once again in challenging the government’s withholding of firearms data. But in its amended opinion, the Ninth Circuit cabined its prior holdings somewhat, including as to how to apply the OPEN FOIA Act.

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Dec 2021

National Nonprofit’s Emails Filed Under Seal Are ‘Plainly Judicial Records’ and Must Be Unsealed

Shannon Jankowski

Affirming its well-established precedent on access to judicial records, the Eleventh Circuit recently upheld a district court’s order unsealing internal communications obtained during discovery and filed in connection with a motion for a preliminary injunction.

Dec 2021

D.C. Circuit Orders Release of Additional Mueller Report Information

Matt Topic

At issue in the appeal were the names, investigated facts, and explanation of Mueller’s declination decisions for two groups of people: those investigated for campaign finance and computer intrusion offenses, and those investigated for making false statements to the government in the course of the investigation.

Dec 2021

Year of Secret Litigation Ends with Complete Media Victory in South Dakota

Jeremy Kutner

The high court held that a state statute prohibiting the sealing of certain warrant information meant what it said, finding that the question “is not a close one.” But the path to the ruling was far from typical.

Oct 2021

Case Closed: Alabama Supreme Court Guts Open Records Law

J. Evans Bailey

With this ruling, it appears that the media will only be able to access law enforcement records if law enforcement makes a voluntary disclosure, the records are introduced as exhibits at trial, or, possibly, if the case is already closed. The sweeping ruling stands as a high-water mark for government secrecy of law enforcement records…