Thursday, January 20, 2011

Retroactively sealing court documents

A law professor complains:
Wolk has now asked the Third Circuit to retroactively seal parts of his response, apparently including the passages that my blog post criticized. ...

Moreover, the plan behind this motion to retroactively seal the document is apparently to build a foundation for ordering the removal of my critical blog post ...

Naturally, I intend to oppose Wolk’s motion. But in any event, I wanted to point out what seems like an innovative attempt to suppress publications that criticize a lawyers’ motions.

And I hope that other publishers also try to intervene. If lawyers may compel a blogger “to remove” publications, by retroactively sealing the court documents that those publications quoted, they could equally do the same to other online publishers, including newspapers, magazines, and more.
I had to remove some quotes from this blog, because Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph retroactively sealed court documents. No justification was ever given, except to save himself from embarrassment for his crooked decisions.

My ex-wife asked Cmr. Joseph to send the cops to seize my kids while CPS was doing an investigation. I was quoting the CPS report that said that the agent found no specific wrongdoing and was not making a recommendation. The CPS report was not claimed to be confidential by CPS. Cmr. Joseph ordered those cops to seize my kids, and ended up finding me in contempt of court for quoting the conclusion of the CPS report on this blog.

I am glad Prof. Volokh is facing this issue. He is a very well respected free speech expert, and he will get the issue before a competent judge if his opponent persists. It should be obvious that you cannot just retroactively seal a legal argument posted on a blog, just because it exposes a faulty legal process.

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