Secrecy About the Legal Process Itself Undermines Integrity of the Judicial System
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BOSTON -- Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a motion for reconsideration of a judge's order sealing all pleadings and documents involving the motion to quash an administrative subpoena issued by the Suffolk District Attorney's office on December 14 to Twitter. The subpoena sought personally identifying information for an anonymous Twitter user known as "Guido Fawkes," or @p0isAn0n, as well as information on anyone "associated with" Twitter hashtags referencing Occupy Boston: #d0xcak3 and #BostonPD.
"We are asking the Court to unseal portions of the pleadings and transcripts, so that at least the process will no longer be kept hidden from the public," said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "It is critically important that we challenge this kind of secrecy about the basics of what is taking place."
At the December 29 hearing challenging the subpoena, at the request of the government and over the objection of ACLU attorneys, Judge Carol Ball heard arguments by attorneys in secret. Several minutes of the proceedings were held with the judge talking only to prosecutors and excluding ACLU attorneys. Thereafter, the judge took the unusual step of ruling that the record of the proceedings and all documents filed were impounded by the court.
Attorneys on the case are Peter Krupp of Lurie & Krupp, LLP; John Reinstein, senior legal counsel, and Laura Rótolo, staff attorney, of the ACLU of Massachusetts; and Aden Fine, staff attorney with the national ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.
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