Judge’s Emails Safe, Though not at 9th Circ.

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge Wednesday reversed an order directing the 9th Circuit to preserve allegedly racist emails sent by a Montana judge – though the emails will be preserved elsewhere.
     U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ March 18 order came in response to a pre-complaint petition from Native Americans who sought preservation of hundreds of potentially racist emails from by retired federal judge Richard Cebull.
     Cebull became the focus of a 2013 investigation after he sent an email disparaging President Barack Obama to Montana reporter John Adams, who later sued the Committee on Judicial Conduct for access to more emails.
     The pre-litigation petitioners want the emails preserved for potential litigation involving Cebull’s rulings.
     Gonzalez Rogers reversed her March ruling this week, based on “newly provided information” from the committee that shows the pre-complaint petitioners cannot state a claim.
     “The consequence of this newly provided information is significant: none of the petitioners … appear able to state a cognizable claim based upon the matter alleged in the FAP (First Amended Petition),” the judge wrote.
     “The uncontested facts presented are that petitioner Plain Feather and Petitioner Bird in Ground have both exhausted the avenues for relief with respect to their cases. They offer no other avenues in their response to the motion. All petitioners have failed to articulate a procedural vehicle that would allow them to reopen any of the cases identified.”
     The petitioners cannot show they are in danger of suffering any injuries that are “redressable” by their petition, she said.
     Gonzalez Rogers noted that it doesn’t matter whether the 9th Circuit preserves the emails because respondent Cathy Catterson, representing the Office of the Circuit Executive and Committee on Judicial Conduct, is required by law to preserve them.
     “The court notes that petitioners have not argued that respondent Catterson is likely to violate the national document retention policy, which she concedes requires her to preserve the emails in the investigative file until Jan. 18, 2019.”

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