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United States v. Jackson

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

December 17, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LONNIE JACKSON, and DIAMOND COLEMAN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART GOVERNMENT'S REQUESTED REDACTIONS TO COURT'S MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO UNSEAL PARTS OF THE RECORD

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court following a hearing on Defendant Lonnie Jackson's Opposed Motion to Unseal Record (Doc. 2362:102), Defendant Diamond Coleman's Sealed Motion to Unseal Specific Pleadings (Doc. 2363:102), and the parties' responses to the Court's Order to Show Cause (Doc. 2362:124, 125, 127, 129; Doc. 2363:123, 125, 126, 128) regarding the Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order issued on September 20, 2018 (Doc. 2362:123; Doc. 2363:122).[1] Having heard the arguments of counsel, considered the parties' pleadings, and considered the relevant law, the Court (1) GRANTS the Government's request for redactions regarding the declaration of Paula Zirkle referenced in the Court's Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. 123) and for the sealing of the Zirkle declaration (Docs. 2362:86-1, 2362:89-1, 2363:85-1, 2363:88-1); and (2) DENIES the Government's request to redact the identities of unindicted third parties named in the Court's Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. 123). Additionally, (3) regarding the Defendants' requests to unseal certain sealed pleadings in these cases (Doc. 2362:102, 2363:102), the parties SHALL SUBMIT a Joint Proposed Order WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS of this Order regarding the pleadings that shall be unsealed and/or refiled with redactions, and which shall be consistent with the rulings in this Order, described herein.

         PROCEDURAL POSTURE

         1. The Court held a Telephonic Status Conference on September 18, 2018 (Doc. 122), at which time the Court informed counsel for Defendants and for the Government that the Court would file its ruling on the Government's Motion to Reconsider (Doc. 89) under seal for a period of ten days to allow the parties to submit their proposed redactions of sensitive information.

         2. At the status conference, the parties represented to the Court that they were conferring regarding the unsealing and redaction of documents in the record. The parties represented that they were mostly in agreement about the unsealing of documents in the record with the exception of one or two items. The parties provided that they would file a stipulation on redaction and unsealing. The Court indicated it could hold a hearing on issues upon which the parties did not agree.

         3. The Court issued the Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. 123) granting in part and denying in part the Government's Motion to Reconsider (Doc. 89) on September 20, 2018.

         4. Also on September 20, 2018, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause Why Memorandum Opinion and Order Should Not Be Unsealed (Doc. 124). The Order to Show Cause instructed the parties that counsel for the Government and for the two Defendants would have “ten days to submit under seal those portions of the said Memorandum Opinion and Order that counsel believe should remain sealed or redacted from public view. The Court shall then review the submissions of counsel and determine what portions of the Memorandum Opinion and Order should remain under seal.” Doc. 124.

         5. The Government submitted its Response to the Order to Show Cause on September 28, 2018. Doc. 125. The Government indicated that it “agrees that the Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order should be unsealed but requests that the portion of the Court's Order that references Paula Zirkle's declaration be redacted before the Order is unsealed.” Doc. 125. The Government provided by email its proposed redactions, which were to content involving Ms. Zirkle's declaration.

         6. Defendants submitted their Response to the Order to Show Cause on September 28, 2018, in which Defendants indicated their position that the entire Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order should be unsealed without any redactions. Doc. 127.

         7. On October 2, 2018, the Court received an email from the Government, with counsel for Defendants copied as recipients. The email provided that the parties were in the process of redacting materials in the record, but the parties had not completed this process. Evidently, the Government felt an issue arose because of un-redacted information in the record about parties who were not indicted, but who were named in pleadings and in live testimony during the evidentiary hearing.

         8. In light of the Government's email, the Court issued an Order Regarding Redaction Issues, in which the Court directed the parties to clarify their positions by submitting a Joint Response. Doc. 128.

         9. The parties submitted their Stipulation to Unseal Documents and Joint Statement in Response to Court's Order Regarding Redaction Issues, in which the parties clarified their positions on the documents they agreed would be unsealed in entirety and the documents they disagreed about redacting. Doc. 129. The parties requested a hearing to resolve the outstanding disputed issues. Regarding the Court's Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. 123), the parties specifically indicated that they disagreed about (a) redaction of information taken from the Zirkle declaration and (b) redaction of the names of individuals who were investigated but not indicted. Doc. 129, ¶ D.

         10. The Court held a hearing on November 7, 2018, to address the parties' outstanding disputes about redaction and unsealing of documents in the record. Doc. 133.

         11. Based upon argument presented at the November 7 hearing, the Court will (a) grant the request by all parties to unseal the Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. 123); (b) grant the Government's request to redact information related to the Zirkle declaration from the Court's Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. 123); (c) grant the Government's request to keep the Zirkle declaration under seal in its entirety; and (d) deny the Government's request to redact the names of unindicted third parties from the Court's Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. 123).

         12. Regarding Defendant Lonnie Jackson's Opposed Motion to Unseal Document (Doc. 2362:102) and Defendant Diamond Coleman's Sealed Motion to Unseal Specific Pleadings (Doc. 2363:102), the parties shall submit a Joint Order requesting the unsealing of individual pleadings, as it appeared that the parties are mostly in agreement about the unsealing of previously sealed pleadings according to their Stipulati ...


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