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E-Filing Under Seal in Existing Criminal Cases

Local Criminal Rule 56-1 has been suspended until further notice.  Effective May 3, 2021, sealed documents may be e-filed in existing criminal cases using the instructions on this page. Sealed documents submitted under these instructions will be restricted on the docket, and will not be viewable by the public, attorneys, or parties. You will not be able to review or access your document once it has been submitted under these instructions.

NOTE:  Failure to follow the below procedures may result in documents being accessible to the public.

 


STEP I: E-Filing the Administrative Motion to File Under Seal

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys must follow these instructions to ensure that sealed documents are properly restricted from public view. Failure to follow these instructions could result in documents being available on the public docket.  NOTE: This is not the procedure to use for documents related to (1) investigatory tools, (2) new case openings, or (3) cases/dockets that are entirely under seal.

1. In ECF, select Criminal → Motions
2. Select Administrative Motion to File Under Seal
3. Enter the case number and select the appropriate defendant(s)
4. When prompted, upload your documents in the following order:

    • As the Main Document, upload the Administrative Motion to File Under Seal
    • As an Attachment, upload the Supporting Declaration (use the pull-down menu to select “Declaration”)
    • As an Attachment, upload the Proposed Order (use the pull-down menu to select “Proposed Order”)
    • As an Attachment, upload the document(s) to be filed under seal.  Use the pull-down menu to select a description (e.g., “Exhibit”) or use the description box to name your document (e.g., “Medical Report”)

5. Bypass the hearing prompt. No hearing is required.
6. The Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) page completes your filing. Your entry is now sealed on the docket and will not be accessible by the public, attorneys, or parties. You will not be able to review or access your ECF entry once it has been submitted to the docket.

 

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STEP II: What To Do after the Court Rules on the Administrative Motion

If your Administrative Motion is GRANTED in its entirety, the sealed and unredacted version of the document will remain under seal. NOTE: the presiding judge may also order that a redacted version be filed on the public docket.  If the judge orders that a redacted version be filed, you will be notified by the Courtroom Deputy, and will need to follow up by e-filing a redacted version of the document.

If your Administrative Motion is DENIED in its entirety, the document sought to be sealed will not be considered by the Court unless the Submitting Party files an unredacted version of the document within 7 days after the motion is denied.  See Criminal Local Rule 56-1(d)(2).

If your Administrative Motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, the document sought to be sealed will not be considered by the Court unless the Submitting Party files a redacted version of the document which comports with the Court’s order within 7 days after the motion is denied. See Criminal Local Rule 56-1(d)(2).

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Frequently Asked Questions about E-filing Under Seal

Q1: When is the document I want to e-file under seal considered filed?

A: For the purposes of deadlines, the documents that you have e-filed as attachments to the Administrative Motion to File Under Seal are considered filed when the Motion is filed. However, as a matter of best practices, it is suggested that, if possible, you e-file your Administrative Motion (and the attached documents) well in advance of any deadlines so as to give the court time to consider your Motion.

Q2: I have many documents I want to attach to my Administrative Motion to File Under Seal, but they won’t all fit. How can I file the rest of these documents securely?

A: Use Criminal Motions and Related Filings Other Supporting Documents Attachments to Administrative Motion to File Under Seal to upload the rest of your documents; this event will prompt you to seal your documents as described above.

Q3: I E-filed my criminal sealed documents in the wrong case or under the wrong defendant. What do I do?

A: Contact the Criminal Case Docketing staff for the assigned judge.  Contact information is available on the assigned judge’s webpage, under the “Staff” tab.  Follow the Criminal Case Docketing staff’s instructions, then use the above instructions to re-submit the correct document or file under the correct case number.

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