Monday, March 7, 2005
Judge Roy Paul has released his ruling in the Burkle case. Applying strict scrutiny and finding a compelling government interest, the judge nevertheless found that "[t]he statute is not unconstitutional merely because it deprives the court of discretion as to what should be sealed, but because as enacted it seals the entirety of a pleading if any of the specified materials are included in it. Thus, a 100 page pleading filled with legal argument of genuine public interest must be sealed if a party's home address appears even in a footnote. Absent judicial scrutiny prior to such sealing, [section] 2024.6 could indeed become an instrument of gamesmanship. The statute cannot be deemed "narrowly tailored" because it necessarily will seal material in which there is no overriding right to privacy." The judge stayed his order, giving Mr. Burkle the right to appeal, or to seek another sealing order under CRC 243.1. An attorney for Mr. Burkle said he is likely to want to appeal the ruling.