Open the records | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 2, 2009

Open the records

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 6:15 AM

Mara Leveritt's complaint about sealing of Supreme Court records in the West Memphis Three case by the court's clerk (rather than by order of any court) got attention from the Arkansas Supreme Court yesterday.

In a curious decision, it punted. Rather than telling its clerk to unseal records he had no business or authority to seal, it sent the entire record back to Circuit Judge David Burnett, who, as dissenting Justice Paul Danielson notes, now can have another bite at further unwarranted sealing of critical evidence in multiple cases.

There's no ground, 15 years after the murders, for sealing anything in this case, particularly the evidence that bears on a tainted jury. (Unless you are prosecutors who'd prefer no further exposure of underhanded actions in this case.) Someone will make the argument for open court to Burnett. His record in the case doesn't inspire hope that the public's interest will be served.

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