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In re Reporters Committee for Freedom of Press

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

September 10, 2015

IN RE: THE REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, et al

          For REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, In Re: Bruce D. Brown, KatieLynn Boyd Townsend, LEAD ATTORNEYS, REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, Washington, DC.

         For CBS BROADCASTING, INC., SERGIO GOMEZ, DANIEL PACHECO, UNIVISION, Petitioners: Bruce D. Brown, KatieLynn Boyd Townsend, LEAD ATTORNEYS, REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, Washington, DC.

         For JUAN SIERRA RAMIREZ, Interested Party: Manuel J. Retureta, LEAD ATTORNEY, RETURETA & WASSEM, P.L.L.C., Washington, DC.

         For SALVATORE MANCUSO-GOMEZ, Interested Party: Joaquin G. Perez, LEAD ATTORNEY, Miami, FL.

Page 239

         MEMORANDUM OPINION

         ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE, United States District Judge.

         The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, CBS Broadcasting Inc., Sergio Gomez, Daniel Pacheco, and Univision (collectively " the applicants" ) filed an Application to Unseal Court Records in Criminal Matter 02-cr-388. ( See Application to Unseal Court Records, April 03, 2015 [ECF No. 1] " App." .) The applicants request that the Court unseal (1) all motions to seal and any sealing or closure orders entered by the Court; (2) any hearing transcripts; (3) any plea agreements; (4) any orders of disposition, judgment and sentencing; and (5) any other court orders. ( See id. at 2.) Interested parties in the above-captioned case ( i.e., defendants in U.S. v. Salvatore Mancuso-Gomez, et al., 02-cr-388--Salvatore Mancuso-Gomez and Juan Sierra Ramirez) oppose this application. On May 18, 2015, applicants filed a Motion to Clarify Orders, requesting that the Court identify the documents that remain under seal and justify the continued sealing of certain documents. ( See Mot. to Clarify, May 18, 2015 [ECF No. 17] at 1.) For the following reasons, the application and the motion are granted in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 3, 2015, applicants filed this miscellaneous action requesting the Court to enter an " Order directing the Clerk of Court to enter all filings, orders, and other entries related to the criminal prosecutions of [Salvatore Mancuso-Gomez] and [Juan] Sierra Ramirez on the public docket."

Page 240

(App. at 4.) On April 14, 2015, the Court ordered Mancuso-Gomez and Sierra Ramirez to show cause why any documents and proceedings that were under seal at that time should remain under seal. ( See Orders to Show Cause, Apr. 14, 2015 [ECF Nos. 8 & 9].) The parties submitted responses consenting to the unsealing of the majority of filings. However, both defendants and the government requested that a limited number of documents remain under seal. ( See 15-mc-410, Response to Order to Show Cause by Juan Sierra Ramirez, May 4, 2015 [ECF No. 11]; 02-cr-388-02, Request Doc. Remain Under Seal by United States, May 5, 2015 [ECF No. 152]; 02-cr-388-02, Request to Maintain Doc. Under Seal by Salvatore Mancuso-Gomez, May 5, 2015 [ECF No. 154].)

         Upon consideration of the responses filed by Mancuso-Gomez, Sierra Ramirez, and the government, the Court unsealed numerous filings. On May 5, 2015, the Court ordered that all filings in U.S. v. Mancuso-Gomez, 02-cr-388-02, be unsealed except for the government's sentencing memorandum and motion pursuant to U.S.S.G. 5K1.1 (Feb. 18, 2015 [ECF Nos. 114-115]) and defendant's memorandum in aid of sentencing and motion pursuant to U.S.S.G. section 5K1.1. (Mar. 31, 2015, Ex. To Mot. for Leave to File Doc. [ECF No. 131] Under Seal, [ECF No. 130-2]; Apr. 1, 2015 [ECF No. 131]; see Order, May 5, 2015 [ECF No. 156].) On that same date, the Court ordered that certain filings in U.S. v. Sierra Ramirez, 02-cr-388-03, be unsealed and that the remaining documents and proceedings remain under seal pending further order of the Court. ( See Order, May 5, 2015 [ECF No. 155].)

         With respect to the documents that remained under seal in U.S. v. Salvatore Mancuso-Gomez, on June 10, 2015, the Court ordered the parties in open court to file proposed redactions. ( See 02-cr-388-02, Sent. Tr., June 10, 2015 [ECF No. 223] at 5.) The government filed a Motion to Clarify and Redact Underseal Documents on July 8, 2015 ( see 02-cr-388-02, Mot., July 08, 2015 [ECF No. 227]), and defendant filed proposed redactions on July 10, 2015. ( See 02-cr-388-02, Redacted Doc., July 10, 2015 [ECF No. 229].) On September 9, 2015, the Court approved the proposed redactions and ordered the redacted documents be filed on the public docket. ( See 02-cr-388-02, Order, Sept. 9, 2015 [ECF No. 231].)

         With respect to the documents that remained under seal in U.S. v. Sierra Ramirez, the Court recognized that " [m]any of the documents . . . under seal implicate compelling interests that must be protected," but indicated that some of the documents should be redacted or unsealed in their entirety. (15-mc-410, Order, Aug. 12, 2015 [ECF No. 22] at 1.) The Court ordered Sierra Ramirez to review certain filings and to show cause why these filings should remain under seal. ( Seeid. at 2.) On September 9, 2015, the Court unsealed in part ...


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