Blight v. Manteca et al

Filing 92

ORDER RE: REQUEST TO SEAL signed by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 6/28/17. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants' request to seal certain information for their summary adjudication motion 91 be, and the same hereby is, GRANTED Defendants are permitted to submit the requested information under seal. The information may be accessed only by the court, defendants, defense counsel, and plaintiff's counsel. (Mena-Sanchez, L)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ----oo0oo---- 11 12 JOANNE BLIGHT, Plaintiff, 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 CIV. NO. 2:15-2513 WBS AC ORDER RE: REQUEST TO SEAL v. CITY OF MANTECA, a municipal corporation; Manteca Police Department Detectives ARMANDO GARCIA and IAN OSBORN; and Manteca Police Department Sergeants PAUL CARMONA and CHRIS MRAZ; Defendants. 20 ----oo0oo---- 21 22 Plaintiff Joanne Blight brought this action against 23 defendants the City of Manteca, Manteca Police Department 24 Detectives Armando Garcia and Ian Osborn, and Manteca Police 25 Department Sergeants Paul Carmona and Chris Mraz, alleging that 26 defendants violated her Fourth Amendment rights when they engaged 27 in a “SWAT style raid” and “search” of her home.” 28 32 (Docket No. 1.) (Compl. ¶¶ 19, Defendants claim that the search was 1 1 authorized by a state court warrant issued pursuant to a sworn 2 affidavit they had submitted to the state court containing 3 information provided by a confidential informant (“CI”). 4 Answer at 12 (Docket No. 5).) 5 misrepresented or omitted material aspects of what the CI told 6 them in their affidavit to the state court. 7 at 2 (Docket No. 55).) (See Plaintiff claims that defendants (Feb. 10, 2017 Order 8 The court previously denied defendants’ request to seal 9 several documents involving the CI because the defendants did not 10 “sufficiently articulate[] why disclosure of the documents and 11 information at issue will jeopardize the CI’s safety.” 12 Order 4:27-5:1 (Docket No. 68).) 13 defendants’ request to seal certain information in connection 14 with defendants’ Motion for summary adjudication. 15 91.) 16 (March 22 Presently before the court is (Docket No. A party seeking to seal a judicial record bears the 17 burden of overcoming a strong presumption in favor of public 18 access. 19 1178 (9th Cir. 2006). 20 reasons supported by specific factual findings that outweigh the 21 general history of access and the public policies favoring 22 disclosure, such as the public interest in understanding the 23 judicial process.” 24 on a motion to seal, the court must balance the competing 25 interests of the public and the party seeking to keep records 26 secret. 27 28 Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, The party must “articulate compelling Id. at 1178-79 (citation omitted). In ruling Id. at 1179. Defendants seek to seal five discrete pieces of information: (1) the name of the incident-related CI; (2) the 2 1 phone number and address of the CI; (3) any prior interaction 2 between the CI and law enforcement; (4) and prior criminal 3 history of the CI and any sentencing; and (5) the CI’s visits to 4 the incident-related property. 5 defendants, public disclosure of such information is necessary 6 because the safety of the CI and the CI’s family is in jeopardy 7 if identifying information or related information is release and 8 disclosure would reduce the ability to use the active CI in 9 future matters. 10 (Notice 1:27-2:3.) According to The court agrees that there is a safety concern with 11 disclosing the personal information of a confidential informant. 12 See, e.g., Mitchell v. Cate, Civ. No. 2:11-1240 JAM AC P, 2014 WL 13 1671589, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2014) (granting request to 14 seal “information [that] cannot be revealed without endangering 15 informants”); United States v. Conner, No. 15-CR-00296 HSG 1, 16 2015 WL 8482205, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2015) (granting 17 request to seal information “contain[ing] the possible identity 18 of a confidential informant”); cf. United States v. Business of 19 Custer Battlefield Museum, 658 F.3d 1188, 1195 n.5 (9th Cir. 20 2011) (“With respect to warrant materials, courts have recognized 21 several concerns that may call for redaction of materials or 22 withholding of disclosure outright. 23 the need to protect the identities and safety of confidential 24 informants.”). 25 defendants’ current request is narrowly focused on specific 26 information with an explanation for why such information should 27 be sealed. 28 These concerns include . . . Unlike defendants’ previous request to seal, Defendants limit the sealed information to two 3 1 categories: (1) the CI’s personally identifying information 2 (name, address, and phone number); and (2) information that could 3 lead to the CI’s identity by working backwards (prior 4 interactions with law enforcement, prior criminal history, and 5 date CI last visited the incident-related property). 6 is satisfied that the personally identifying information 7 implicates the safety of the CI and thus satisfies the 8 “compelling reasons” standard. 9 information also implicates the CI’s safety because an individual 10 could take this information, work backwards, and potentially make 11 a reasonable guess of the CI’s identification if the individual 12 had the CI’s prior criminal history and sentencing, the CI’s 13 prior interactions with law enforcement, and the date the CI last 14 visited the incident-related property. 15 last date the CI visited the incident-related property may allow 16 individuals with knowledge of the incident, including plaintiff, 17 to determine the identity of the CI. 18 The court The second category of For example, knowing the Having reviewed defendants’ request to seal, the court 19 finds that compelling reasons exist to seal the requested 20 information. 21 access, the court finds that the public policies favoring 22 disclosure do not outweigh the interests in ensuring the safety 23 of a CI by sealing information that does not appear to be 24 dispositive to the case. 25 defendants’ request to seal. 26 While the public has an interest in disclosure and Accordingly, the court will grant IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants’ request to 27 seal certain information for their summary adjudication motion 28 (Docket No. 91) be, and the same hereby is, GRANTED. 4 1 Defendants are permitted to submit the requested 2 information under seal. The information may be accessed only by 3 the court, defendants, defense counsel, and plaintiff’s counsel. 4 Dated: June 28, 2017 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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