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16-2431 - North Jersey Media Group Inc, et al v. USA, et al


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16-2431 - North Jersey Media Group Inc, et al v. USA, et al
September 7, 2016
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PRECEDENTIAL OPINION Coram: AMBRO, JORDAN and SCIRICA, Circuit Judges. Total Pages: 31. Judge: JORDAN Authoring. Public access to judicial documents and court proceedings is a respected tradition and important legal principle, but it has bounds. Discovery traditionally has been conducted by the parties in private and has not been publically available. Wecht, 484 F.3d at 208. That is so even in a case affected by heightened public interest. The time may come, perhaps at trial, when the information in the Conspirator Letter ought to be made public, but that time is not here yet. Because neither the First Amendment right of access nor the common law right of access applies to the Conspirator Letter, we will vacate the District Court's order insofar as it requires disclosure of the Letter. In a motion for reconsideration dated May 17, 2016, the Media sought release of the Conspirator Letter with Doe's name redacted. Having concluded that the entire Conspirator Letter is not subject to any public right of access, we discern no basis for the Media's request for its partial disclosure. As we have explained, the Media has no right of access to pretrial discovery, which includes the entirety of the Conspirator Letter. Accordingly, we deny the Media's motion for reconsideration insofar as it requests a redacted version of the Conspirator Letter.