Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Rule will mandate court openness

The Washington Supreme Court is considering a proposed rule to make it harder to close court hearings or seal court records. Tracy Johnson, Rule Will Mandate Court Openness, Seattle PI, March 7, 2006.

Chief Justice Gerry Alexander said it is only a coincidence that the rule discussion comes right after the Seattle Times's investigation into sealed records in King County Superior Court, since the Supreme Court took public comment on the rule from June to September.

The PI article mentions an organization I wasn't familiar with: the Washington Coalition for Open Government.

The changes would be in GR 15. Here is the proposed new GR 15.

After the Seattle Times report appeared on Sunday, King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu asked whether any of the improperly sealed files the reporters had found were from her cases and volunteered to unseal them without a motion. None of the 420 were hers. Ken Armstrong & Justin Mayo, Changes Take Aim at Secrecy in Courts, Seattle Times, March 7, 2006.

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