Chief Judge Sentelle Announces New Judicial Conference Policy on Sealing Cases

The Associated Press reports that Chief Judge Sentelle announced Tuesday a new Judicial Conference policy on sealing cases, noting that “judges ‘should not do something in secret’ without compelling reasons.” The new policy emphasizes that that “an entire civil case file should only be sealed when . . . sealing . . . is required by statute or rule or justified by a showing of extraordinary circumstances and the absence of narrower feasible and effective alternatives such as sealing discrete documents or redacting information, so that sealing an entire case file is a last resort.” According to a study by the Federal Judicial Center, 576 out of 245,326 civil cases filed in 2006 were sealed.

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