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Government Records

Dec 2022

Mass Shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs Prompts Two Successful Unsealing Battles

Steve Zansberg

Judge Chittum ruled that in light of recent events the statute clearly required that prior criminal case file be unsealed.

Sep 2022

Foreign Emoluments Clause Meets FOIA

Charles D. Tobin and Maxwell S. Mishkin

A D.C. federal judge has issued a groundbreaking Freedom of Information Act ruling in favor of the Washington Post, agreeing that the public has a "strong interest” in learning the names of retired U.S. military personnel who go to work for foreign governments and how much they get paid.

Aug 2022

Florida Federal Court Releases Redacted Warrant Affidavit in Unprecedented Search of Former President Trump’s Florida Residence

Charles D. Tobin and Elizabeth Seidlin-Bernstein

The news organizations argued that, even in the middle of an investigation and before any indictment, a search warrant affidavit is a judicial record to which the presumption of public access attaches.

Aug 2022

Second Circuit Sua Sponte Shrinks Definition of “Agency Records”

Stephen Stich

The ruling bowls over text and precedent and is a potential disaster for government transparency.

Jun 2022

California Recognizes “Constructive Denial” Doctrine Under Public Records Act

Steven Zansberg

The court’s holding that the reporter was entitled to bring his lawsuit challenging the non-response has far-reaching consequences and has been hailed as a major victory for transparency in California.

May 2022

Florida Court Rejects Bid to Conceal Records of Deceased Toddler  

Daniela Abratt

After the troubling death of 22-month-old Rashid Bryant, a coalition of media companies and access advocates sued DCF when the agency refused to release its case file on the toddler.

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.

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

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.