The federal court system, long reluctant to embrace the technologies of transparency, is making slow but sure strides toward greater openness, editorializes the Las Vegas Review-Journal. On Tuesday, the U.S. Judicial Conference announced new policies that will improve public access to federal courts. Judges voted to provide digital audio recordings of trials and hearings for $2.40 apiece. The recordings will be released shortly after proceedings end — no weeks-long waiting period for those public records.
Also, anyone searching federal court records over the Internet won’t be charged so much. Those who access the system won’t get a bill unless they look at more than $10 worth of records in a quarter. The newspaper says that more people in the federal courts finally are realizing that limiting public access to the judiciary can only degrade the taxpayers’ confidence in the integrity and accountability of the system.