Our friends at the Tulsa World had an interesting story over the weekend about the patchwork system of sealing court cases across the state.
Turns out there’s no one way to decide if a case should be sealed, meaning the public’s access to court documents could be curtailed in some instances. Judges make the decision to seal court records, but county clerks are in charge of administering the court files.
Some times, it’s just one or two documents in a court case that are sealed; other times, the whole record is sealed. The problem is, few court clerks track the number of sealed documents.
“There are 77 ways to do this,” Cotton County Clerk Deborah Hodenfield told the World. “The statute does not address it.”
This isn’t just an Oklahoma issue, either. The Seattle Times ran a series a couple of years ago about sealed cases in King County, Wash.
Written by Paul Monies