Journalists Decry Latest ABA Proposal on Crime Records


The Coalition of Journalists for Open Government has sent a letter to the American Bar Association decrying a new proposal by the attorneys to limit public access to records of criminal charges. The letter, written by journalist Pete Weitzel on behalf of 13 journalism groups, described the new proposal as “even more deleterious to the public’s right to know.” The proposal is to be considered later this month at an ABA convention in San Francisco.

The letter reads in party, “We believe the recommendation that criminal case records be automatically sealed when there is no conviction is radical and ill-considered, and will do serious damage to the public’s confidence in the judicial system. We believe the proposal to allow subsequent sealing of conviction records opens the door to special interest pleadings and another assault on the integrity of the system.” The letter was written on behalf of 13 journalism groups, including Criminal Justice Journalists, Radio and Television News Directors Association, Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Newspaper Editor and the National Press Club.


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