Posts in Access to Search Warrants.

In a decision released today, the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court order sealing three search warrants and related materials in a high-profile murder case in Cary, North Carolina. The decision, In re Cooper, represents the first instance in which a North Carolina appellate court has squarely addressed the standards applicable to orders sealing search warrant materials, and it resulted in a set back for press interests in North Carolina.

The case arose out of the investigation into the death of Nancy Cooper.  In July 2008, the Cary Police Department and ... Read More 

A few months ago, we reported about access to search warrant materials and the Eve Carson case in North Carolina.  In the Carson case, the trial court released the search warrant materials under the common-law right of access once the police investigation of Carson’s death had been completed. 

In November 2008, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recognized a qualified First Amendment right of access to search warrant materials related to the completed 2001 anthrax attack investigations.  Specifically, the district court ordered search warrants materials ... Read More 

High-profile criminal investigations and trials frequently set the stage for conflict between the news media, law enforcement agencies, and criminal defendants.  While law enforcement reasonably wishes to preserve its ability to successfully investigate and prosecute the case, the media reasonably desires to engage in constitutionally protected newsgathering activities and inform the community about those activities.  Of course, the criminally accused want to protect their constitutional right to a fair trial by an impartial jury.  One of the issues over which the ... Read More 


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