Next? Closing divorce records

Fear is fomenting across the land. The people, faced with the uncertain danger of their personal identifiers used by unauthorized others, are rising up, demanding that the personal become, well, personal. Or, at least only the purview of the government. What happens when the proceedings of government are closed, the relationships of the wealthy to politicians are kept under seal? Ask the Governor of California, who issued a vote of approval to shuttering public records, signing into law AB 782, which allows redaction of divorce records with one party’s request.

The Los Angeles Times recounts one recent tale, demonstrating just how the wealthy need protection…

Billionaire investor Ronald Burkle has persuaded the courts to shield from
public view, at least temporarily, dozens of documents in his divorce file,
arguing that a new state law requires trial and appellate judges to seal the
records.

At a hearing Tuesday in Superior Court in Long Beach, Burkle’s
lawyers argued that the law, signed in June by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,
requires sealing records that disclose financial assets in divorce cases on
request of one of the parties.

Divorce Case Raises Questions on Records Law
Ronald Burkle cites measure that permits sealing of documents. Media lawyers call it unconstitutional.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/state/la-me-burkle23dec23,1,2420407.story?coll=la-news-state

States across the land are finagling to restrict access to government records, even in New Jersey! The Open Public Records Act was implemented in 2002, requires government agencies to release records or pay for the legal fees accumulated in attempting to gain access. The AG’s office is plotting for ways to restrict release of public records, with the catch-all exception, ambiguously called “homeland security”.

Critics charge open public records law is being gutted
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/state/ny-bc-nj–openrecords1226dec26,0,7999042.story?coll=ny-region-apnewjersey [Free subscription required]

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