(CN) – Statements made by the parents of Columbine High School gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold should remain sealed for 20 years, the 10th Circuit ruled.
The Denver-based appeals court voted 2-1 to uphold a judge’s decision not to disclose the depositions, citing the risks of triggering copycat incidents and the need to protect the privacy interests of those mentioned in the documents.
The statements were made for two settled lawsuits stemming from the 1999 Columbine shootings, in which Harris and Klebold murdered classmates and teachers before taking their own lives.
U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock ordered the depositions to remain sealed in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration for two decades. Babcock also refused the Colorado attorney general’s request to let a youth violence expert review the documents.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuits – the parents of two victims and a student who was injured in the shooting rampage – appealed the decision, claiming the material should be made public so as to prevent a similar tragedy.
The 10th Circuit upheld the decision, concluding that the documents were subject to the Federal Records Act and should remain sealed.
In dissent, Judge Lucero said the depositions do not “fall within the ambit” of the Act.