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Convoluted explanation for appeals decision to support secret plea of Kontogiannis...

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cascadiance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:00 PM
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Convoluted explanation for appeals decision to support secret plea of Kontogiannis...

This story isn't being carried in many places... Anyway, here's a summary that includes some convoluted attempts to explain why they are allowed to keep the plea of Thomas Kontogiannis (who's been convicted of money laundering that is related to the Brent Wilkes, Dusty Foggo, and Duke Cunningham scandals). The Union Tribune here sued to try and unseal the court documents, but were refused. This article goes into a bit more of the explanation of why it should stay closed. Confused with it? So am I! Methinks that is the intent...

NEWS MEDIA UPDATE NINTH CIRCUIT Secret Courts March 13, 2008
Court finds presumption of openness in plea documents

A federal appeals court ruled in two separate cases regarding sealed secret plea agreements and the public's First Amendment right of access in a convoluted legal battle.

March 13, 2008 A federal appeals court held that documents relating to a secret guilty plea of a drug cartel defendant, including the summary of what he was pleading to, are presumed open, yet ruled that portions of hearings conducted to determine whether to make public or keep sealed those documents are closed.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) also issued a brief, unpublished memorandum the same day, March 4, on a separate matter regarding the guilty plea of a New York businessman charged with money laundering that is in line with its published opinion.


"So by publishing these transcripts, we would force litigants to take a great risk," Kozinski wrote. "If they move to seal and lose, they make public all the additional secrets they have revealed to us in making a case for sealing the proceedings."

In the unpublished opinion, the same panel stated that the same type of hearings and transcripts in the Kontogiannis case will also remain sealed by following the same "compelling interest" standard.

Both cases began cloaked with much more secrecy, with U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns agreeing to temporarily seal the entire proceedings to maintain the safety of those involved in both cases. As months went on, however, Burns deemed the safety risk was much lower and ordered most of the plea transcript and documents unsealed. Burns eventually released even more documents and portions of the hearings where prosecutors explained their reasons for wanting secrecy.

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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:04 PM
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1. That just sounds like a roundabout way of saying
If it's unsealed "they make public all the additional secrets"

I have a real "Well. . DUH!" kind of feeling about this...
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