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Sealed Records & Proceedings

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January 1, 2013
Robert Timothy Reagan

Most courts come into contact with classified information infrequently, if at all, but when they do, they are faced with the dilemma of how to protect government secrets in the context of an otherwise public proceeding. This pocket guide is designed to familiarize judges and court staff with statutes and procedures established to help public courts protect government secrets when courts are called upon to do so. The guide provides information about the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), classified information security officers, and secure storage facilities.

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December 15, 2010
Robert Timothy Reagan

Court case records and proceedings are presumptively public, but occasionally there are compelling reasons for keeping all or parts of them confidential, sometimes permanently but often only temporarily. This pocket guide summarizes the case law on sealing records and proceedings and presents a useful procedural checklist of seven principles to follow when denying public access.

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October 23, 2009
Tim Reagan, George W. Cort

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.

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February 20, 2007
Vaughn R. Walker

In re NSA Telecommunication Records Litigation (N.D. Cal. 3:06-md-1791).

This document is among Selected Orders and Other Case Documents that, in turn, are among the Center's resources on National Security Cases.

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September 12, 2006
Robert Timothy Reagan

When a United States senator asked the federal judiciary to look into sealed settlement agreements, the Civil Rules Advisory Committee asked the Federal Judicial Center to undertake a research effort to discover how often settlement agreements are sealed in federal court and under what circumstances. The Center learned that the sealing of settlement agreements in federal court is rare, and typically the only part of the court record kept secret by the sealing of a settlement agreement is the amount of settlement.

September 16, 2005
Gerald Bruce Lee

United States v. Abu Ali (E.D. Va. 1:05-cr-53).

This document is among Selected Orders and Other Case Documents that, in turn, are among the Center's resources on National Security Cases.

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May 19, 2004
Robert Timothy Reagan, Shannon R. Wheatman, Marie Leary, Natacha Blain, Steven S. Gensler, George W. Cort, D. Dean P. Miletich

An examination of 288,846 federal district court cases revealed 1,270 cases that appeared to have sealed settlement agreements, for a sealed settlement rate of less than one half of one percent. In 97% of the cases with sealed settlements the complaint was not under seal. This research was conducted at the request of the Judicial Conference's Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. Although the practice of confidential settlement agreements is common, the question was how often and under what circumstances are such agreements filed under seal.

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