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Sealed Cases in Federal Courts

Tim Reagan, George W. Cort
October 23, 2009
Available Online Only

An analysis of all cases filed in federal district courts, bankruptcy courts, and courts of appeals in 2006 revealed that 0.2% of civil cases, 1.6% of criminal cases, 16% of magistrate judge cases, 34% of miscellaneous cases, and 0.1% of appeals were sealed approximately two years after filing. Cases filed in bankruptcy courts are virtually never sealed. This report, prepared for a sealed case subcommittee of the Judicial Conference's standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, describes why and how cases were sealed.