California Courts Shutting Doors: ‘Does Not Warrant Secrecy’

As California courts scramble to comply with a statewide shelter-in-place order, First Amendment advocates and press groups are asking Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to ensure that the media and public can still cover court hearings, which are ongoing, and review new court records, which continue to be filed.

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Ninth Circuit Tightens Focus of Abortion Foe’s Look at Lab Researcher Files

Anti-abortion activist David Daleiden may see some unredacted public records on a group of employees and researchers affiliated with the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Center but the identities of five employees are protected from disclosure, the Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday.

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FOIA Requests

A federal court in Washington upheld a majority of Freedom of Information Act request withholdings challenged by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman who seeks every record in federal intelligence agencies’ files that mentions his name. Gellman, who is writing a book about intelligence gathering, reported on documents leaked to him from Edward Snowden.

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Court Documents

The Washington Supreme Court vacated a writ of mandamus that compelled a court clerk to comply with a rule the judges of Benton and Franklin Counties Superior Court issued ordering clerks to maintain paper files of court documents. The clerk prefers to maintain the records electronically and prints out a copy of an electric file when a judge requests a paper version.

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Records Request

A federal court in Washington ruled that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence properly withheld certain documents relating to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election that had been requested under the Freedom of Information Act by a Buzzfeed reporter and government transparency nonprofit director.  

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Jail Statistics Give the Lie to Trump Asylum Policy

Many U.S. holding cells along the Mexican border were less than half full, even empty, during an unprecedented surge of asylum-seeking families from Central America, newly unsealed court documents show, raising questions about the Trump administration’s claims that it had to make people wait in Mexico because it didn’t have the means to accommodate them.

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Hunting and Fishing

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish was obligated to disclose the names and email addresses of everyone who applied for a hunting or fishing permit pursuant to a citizen’s public records request, an appeals court in the state ruled. The state argued disclosure of the information threatened the privacy of residents and could open hunters up to harassment.

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Jamal Khashoggi

A federal court in Washington, D.C., ruled in favor of the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies sued by the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Knight First Amendment Institute for records relating to the intelligence community’s “duty to warn” journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered and dismembered inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. 

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