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Blackwell v. Pizzola

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


January 6, 2010

RODNEY KARL BLACKWELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
C/O PIZZOLA, DEFENDANT.

ORDER

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant Pizzola confiscated his personal JWIN radio in violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Pending before the court is plaintiff's motion for leave to lodge "confidential material" with the court. Specifically, plaintiff appears to be seeking a court order to seal a list of names of inmates who have allegedly been able to retain their radios through attrition.

Plaintiff is advised that, "[u]nless a particular court record is one 'traditionally kept secret,' a 'strong presumption in favor of access is the starting point." Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff, as the party seeking to seal the record in this matter, bears the burden of overcoming the strong presumption by offering "compelling reasons" supported by specific factual findings. Id. at 1179 ("In general, 'compelling reasons' sufficient to outweigh the public's interest in disclosure and justify sealing court records exist when such 'court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes,' such as the use of records to gratify private spite, promote public scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release trade secrets.").

In this case, plaintiff has made no showing in support of his request to seal any part of the record in the case. Nor has plaintiff given the court any reason to believe that the deputy attorney general assigned to this case or the defendants have any intent of using the record in this case for improper purposes. Accordingly, the court will deny plaintiff's motion for leave to lodge "confidential material" with the court.

In accordance with the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's November 2, 2009 motion (Doc. No. 27) is denied.

20100106

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