Saturday, April 6, 2013

Disciplinary Sunshine In Missouri

Resolving an issue of first impression, the Missouri Supreme Court has held that a disciplinary panel issued an overbroad order directing that a disciplinary proceeding against an attorney be treated as confidential.

Documents that have been treated as non-public by a Missouri court will not be part of the public record in the disciplinary proceeding, unless the sealing court rules otherwise. All other proceedings are public unless good cause is shown for confidentiality.

From the court's summary:

Pursuant to Rule 5.31, the disciplinary hearing panel is prohibited from enforcing its prior blanket protective order making all proceedings confidential. It is directed to follow the requirements of the rule, which require the remainder of this or any disciplinary hearing to be open to the public, except as provided in Rule 5.31. The standards set forth in that rule and this opinion shall be applied to future days of hearing in this matter and should be applied promptly in reviewing portions of the hearing already undertaken to determine what should be made public under the rule.

The rule, which was revised in January 2013, is linked here.

The case was brought by a media organization. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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