Venegas-Lares v. USA

Filing 13

ORDER denying 10 Motion to Seal. Signed by Magistrate Judge Eileen S Willett on 10/30/15. (CR-12-408-PHX-FJM) (MAP)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 United States of America, Plaintiff/Respondent, 10 No. CV-15-00330-PHX-FJM (ESW) CR-12-0408-PHX-FJM ORDER 11 v. 12 Jesus Venegas-Lares, 13 Defendant/Movant. 14 15 16 On February 23, 2015, Movant Jesus Venegas-Lares (“Movant”) filed a “Motion 17 Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal 18 Custody” (Doc. 1) (the “Motion to Vacate”). 19 ineffective assistance of counsel claims. Pending before the Court is the Government’s 20 Motion to Seal (Doc. 10). The Government requests the Court to seal the Government’s 21 “Response in Opposition to Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence Pursuant to 22 28 U.S.C. § 2255” and the exhibits attached to the Response (lodged at Doc. 11). 23 Movant has not responded and the time to do so has passed. The Motion to Seal is 24 deemed submitted for consideration. The Motion to Vacate raises five 25 The public has a general right to inspect and copy judicial records and documents. 26 Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978). Although this right is not 27 absolute, there is a strong presumption in favor of access to judicial records. 28 overcome this presumption, a party seeking to seal a judicial record must meet (i) the To 1 “compelling reasons” standard if the record is a dispositive pleading or (ii) the “good 2 cause” standard if the record is a non-dispositive pleading. Kamakana v. City & County 3 of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1180 (9th Cir. 2006). 4 Here, because the Response (lodged at Doc. 11) is a dispositive pleading, 1 the 5 Government must offer compelling reasons for sealing the Response and accompanying 6 exhibits. “In general, ‘compelling reasons’ sufficient to outweigh the public’s interest in 7 disclosure and justify sealing court records exist when such ‘court files might have 8 become a vehicle for improper purposes,’ such as the use of records to gratify private 9 spite, promote public scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release trade secrets.” 10 Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179 (citing Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598). The Government requests 11 that the Court grant the Motion to Seal because the Response and accompanying exhibits 12 “reference confidential communications between Movant and his defense attorneys 13 during their respective representation of Movant during his criminal case.” (Doc. 10). 14 This statement fails to show a compelling reason for sealing the Response and 15 accompanying exhibits. 16 assertions inadequate to establish compelling reason to maintain “confidential” 17 documents under seal). Because the Government has failed to meet its burden, “the 18 default posture of public access prevails.” Id. Moreover, the Motion to Seal fails to 19 comply with Rule 5.6(b) of the Local Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires that 20 “[a]ny motion or stipulation to file a document under seal must set forth a clear statement 21 of the facts and legal authority justifying the filing of the document under seal . . . .” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1182 (finding party’s conclusory 22 It is well-settled that “where a habeas petitioner raises a claim of ineffective 23 assistance of counsel, he waives the attorney-client privilege as to all communications 24 with his allegedly ineffective lawyer.” Bittaker v. Woodford, 331 F.3d 715, 716 (9th Cir. 25 1 26 27 28 A “dispositive” pleading is one that adjudicates issues on the merits. See Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179 (dispositive motions resolve disputes on the merits); Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135-36 (9th Cir. 2003) (summary judgment is dispositive because it “adjudicates substantive rights and serves as a substitute for trial”). -2- 1 2003). Yet the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has instructed that “the court must impose 2 a waiver no broader than needed to ensure the fairness of the proceedings before it.” Id. 3 at 720. Similar to the situation in Bittaker, either party may file a motion for a protective 4 order to address a concern that the attorney-client communications may be used outside 5 of this Section 2255 proceeding. 6 Accordingly, 7 IT IS ORDERED denying the Government’s Motion to Seal (Doc. 10). 8 9 Dated this 30th day of October, 2015. 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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