Cilla v. Johnson
MEMORANDUM ORDER granting 4 Motion to Re-characterize Title of Case. ORDERED that the petitioners initials, D.P.C., be substituted for his name in the caption for this matter and in all future filings completed by the court or by either party. It is further ORDERED that the petitioner file a redacted copy of his original petition, memorandum, and exhibits, substituting his initials for his full name wherever it may appear but making no other substitutions, within the next 30 days. Once this redacted pleading is received and found to be in compliance with our order, the original pleading will be placed under seal. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay on 4/4/2017. (crt,Haik, K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
LAKE CHARLES DIVISION
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:17-cv-0024
MAGISTRATE JUDGE KAY
Before the court is the plaintiff’s “Motion to Recharacterize Title of Case” [doc. 4] in which
he actually seeks to have the matter redacted so has to conceal his identity. The petitioner is an
inmate in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He is currently incarcerated at the United
States Penitentiary at Coleman, Florida. He has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, complaining of good time credit lost in disciplinary proceedings. Doc. 1. He
alleges that his good time credits were revoked when he refused to join the general population of
the prison because he believed other inmates had access to his court records and learned thereby
that he had received a plea deal based on his cooperation with the government. Doc. 1, att. 1. He
now seeks to have his identity concealed in these proceedings. Doc. 4.
The common law recognizes a general public right to inspect and copy judicial records.
S.E.C. v. Van Waeyenberghe, 990 F.2d 845, 848 (5th Cir. 1993). That right is implemented through
“a strong presumption in favor of . . . public access to court proceedings.” In re Violation of Rule
28(D), 635 F.3d 1352, 1356 (5th Cir. 2011). However, the right is not absolute and may be denied
to ensure that the records are not used for improper purposes. Nixon v. Warner Communications,
Inc., 98 S.Ct. 1306, 1312 (1978). It is thus left to the district court’s discretion, based on the facts
of the case, to determine when the right of access should be curbed. Van Waeyenberghe, 990 F.2d
at 848. The court should exercise caution in using this authority. United States v. Holy Land
Foundation for Relief and Development, 624 F.3d 685, 689–90 (5th Cir. 2010) (citing Fed. Sav. &
Loan Ins. Corp. v. Blain, 808 F.2d 395, 399 (5th Cir. 1987)).
In light of these concerns and the security issues outlined by the petitioner in his pleadings
and motion, we determine that the competing interests are satisfied by redacting this matter to
conceal the petitioner’s name but otherwise leaving the matter open to the public. However, this
court cannot undo any harm that may have already been caused by the plaintiff’s decision to make
admissions in an unsealed pleading that he now claims jeopardizes his safety. Nevertheless it is
ORDERED that the petitioner’s initials, “D.P.C.,” be substituted for his name in the
caption for this matter and in all future filings completed by the court or by either party. It is further
ORDERED that the petitioner file a redacted copy of his original petition, memorandum, and
exhibits, substituting his initials for his full name wherever it may appear but making no other
substitutions, within the next 30 days. Once this redacted pleading is received and found to be in
compliance with our order, the original pleading will be placed under seal.
The petitioner is cautioned that if he fails to comply with this order in a timely manner, his
suit is subject to dismissal without prejudice under Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and this court’s inherent authority for failure to comply with a court order. See Link v.
Wabash R.R.Co., 82 S.Ct. 1386, 1388–89, 8 L.Ed.2d 734 (1962)
THUS DONE this 4th day of April, 2017.
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