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Lost Transparency of the Judiciary?

April 21, 2010

Missouri considers restricting access to court records

Missouri judges will soon decide on your ability to access public records. Presently anyone can access information, via Casenet, the state’s online public database, about criminal and civil court cases, rulings by judges on these cases, and any actions pursued by legal counsel. Transparency in every part of this process keeps all the players, judges, attorneys, prosecutors, etc. in concert with the rules of the process. Imagine how the process might change if judges were able to rule on motions without the light of the “public” eye watching their decisions. Would the press be able to follow the progress of criminal cases and motions filed by attorneys if they didn’t have access to the records? Would you be able to find out the status of sex offenders, or follow criminal cases in your neighborhood? Don’t you want to know who is living next door to you?

These decisions made by the judiciary for the judiciary could possibly cripple the Republic’s liberties and ability to seek and maintain justice in our state/country. It would empower violators of the law by offering increased anonymity. Do you really want lawyers and judges making these kinds of decisions about your ability to access public records and inhibit your ability to hold them accountable for their performance in the legal/justice system?

For additional information, please contact OSCA Legal Counsel Catherine
Zacharias by telephone at (573) 751-4377 or by e-mail at 
cor2comments@courts.mo.gov.

Please read the story:

http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/16/1882289_missouri-considers-restricting.html?storylink=omni_popular#ixzz0lT0qxc2n

Read the press release issued by the court and read about the proposed changes.

http://www.courts.mo.gov/pressrel.nsf/fa1bcbaea6d7c117862567670079a321/cd4456d5c28892fe862576d9007c4b24?OpenDocument

Contact the Honorable:

Jimmie M. Edwards,

Circuit Judge, Division 5
Civil Courts Building

(314) 622-4376.

Please tell him what you think about this action by the committee of judges.

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