- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: First Amendment
- Date Filed: 03-13-2023
- Case #: 21-16233
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Bress, C.J. for the Court; Rawlinson, C.J.; & Bade, C.J.
- Full Text Opinion
Plaintiffs appealed after their petition to unseal records relating to technical assistance materials for active warrants under the All Writs Act was denied. Plaintiffs assigned error to the denial of their petition. Plaintiffs argued that the public has a right to access documents in criminal proceedings and the petition falls within the category of documents that have historically been unsealed for public access. In response, the U.S. argued that there is a compelling government interest to seal technical assistance materials for active warrants because making the materials public would compromise criminal investigations. Records may be unsealed when they have historically been made available to the public, when public access is beneficial to the procedure, and when unsealing the records is not outweighed by a compelling governmental interest. In re Copley Press, Inc., 518 F.3d 1022, 1026 (9th Cir. 2008). The Court reasoned that materials relating to active criminal investigations have not historically been available to the public before an arrest has been made. Further, the Court agreed with the U.S. that there is a compelling governmental interest to keep technical assistance materials sealed during an active warrant. The Court did not decide whether the materials could be unsealed after an arrest has been made. Affirmed.