Salcido v. Wong

Filing 37

ORDER GRANTING 28 MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL PORTIONS OF PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS. Signed by Judge Maxine M. Chesney on December 10, 2012.(mmcsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/10/2012)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 11 SAN FRANCISCO DIVISION 12 13 RAMON BOJORQUEZ SALCIDO, 14 15 16 17 18 Case Number 09-00586 MMC Petitioner, DEATH-PENALTY CASE v. KEVIN CHAPPELL, Acting Warden of San Quentin State Prison, ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL PORTIONS OF PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS Respondent. 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Petitioner is a condemned inmate at San Quentin State Prison. On August 9, 2012, he filed an Administrative Motion to File Under Seal Portions of the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. On August 22, 2012, Respondent filed an Opposition. On September 5, 2012, Petitioner filed a Reply. For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner’s motion will be granted. Background The procedural history of the instant case is provided in the Court's concurrently filed Order Granting Motion for Bittaker Protective Order and, with the exception of matters also relevant to the instant motion, is not repeated herein. On August 9, 2012, Petitioner lodged a complete, unredacted version of his Petition and ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL 1 exhibits, as well as a redacted version of the same documents. Concurrently, Petitioner filed a 2 Motion for Bittaker Protective Order, seeking to protect privileged attorney-client 3 communications and work product information disclosed in his Petition and in any further 4 litigation of his claims. As noted, the Court has granted the requested protective order. 5 In the instant motion, Petitioner requests that his unredacted Petition and certain exhibits 6 be filed under seal, nunc pro tunc as of the date lodged. Specifically, Petitioner seeks leave to 7 file under seal two exhibits containing juror declarations and the portions of Claim 10 8 comprising photographs of jurors, as well as portions of the Petition and exhibits containing 9 privileged attorney-client communications and work product information. Petitioner also 10 requests the redacted and unredacted versions of his Petition and exhibits be filed nunc pro tunc 11 as of the date lodged. 12 13 Discussion A court has inherent power to seal documents in appropriate circumstances. United 14 States v. Mann, 829 F.2d 849, 853 (9th Cir. 1987). Although there exists a strong presumption 15 in favor of access to court records, the right of access is not absolute and may be overridden 16 given sufficiently compelling reasons to do so. Foltz v. State Farm Mutual Auto Ins. Co., 331 17 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003). 18 Here, compelling reasons justify the relief requested. The sealing of juror declarations 19 and photographs (Exhibits 67, 68 and portions of Claim 10) will protect the identities of jurors in 20 accordance with the state's interest in affording such protection. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code 21 § 237(a)(2) (providing for post-trial sealing of “personal juror identifying information”); Cal. R. 22 Ct. 8.332(b)(1) (providing for deletion of jurors’ personal identifying information from 23 documents filed on appeal). Although the state trial transcripts contain the unredacted names of 24 all jurors who served at Petitioner's trial, the filing in the public record of more readily accessible 25 documentation reflecting the jurors' identities has not been shown to be justified. 26 Next, as discussed in this Court’s Order Granting Petitioner’s Motion for Bittaker 27 Protective Order, compelling reasons justify the sealing of materials containing privileged 28 attorney-client communications as well as work product information. Accordingly, the sealing 2 ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL 1 of declarations and exhibits taken from trial counsel’s files, as well as portions of the Petition 2 revealing the contents of those exhibits, is warranted. 3 Respondent's additional objections to the sealing of documents, specifically, that the 4 materials Petitioner wishes to seal are inadmissible, irrelevant, or contain new information barred 5 from this Court's review by Cullen v. Pinholster, 131 S. Ct. 1388 (2011), likewise are 6 unpersuasive. Neither the admissibility of the materials in question nor their relevance is 7 currently before the Court. Moreover, as noted in the Court's concurrently filed Order, 8 Pinholster dealt with a narrow issue – the scope of the record subject to review under 28 U.S.C. 9 § 2254(d)(1). See Pinholster, 131 S. Ct. 1398. The decision has no bearing on the propriety of 10 Petitioner’s request to seal documents. 11 12 13 14 Conclusion For the reasons stated above, Petitioner's Motion to File Under Seal is hereby GRANTED. IT IS SO ORDERED. 15 Dated: December 10, 2012 16 MAXINE M. CHESNEY United States District Judge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL

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