OCCAOnline Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals

Rule 2.7 Procedures for Sealing Record

A. Effective Date. As of November 1, 2016, pleadings, documents and materials filed in criminal cases in the courts of this state shall be governed by the following guidelines. This rule shall have prospective effect only.

B. Orders sealing materials. Any court order which directs the sealing, withholding, or removal of pleadings or other material from the record shall comply with the requirements of 51 O.S.Supp.2012, 24A.29.

C. Filing of sealed portions of the record on appeal. When materials sealed by a protective order of the district court are sent as part of the record, the trial court clerk shall:

(1) Separate the sealed materials from other portions of the record on appeal but insert notice at the point in the record from which the materials are extracted giving notice that part of the record is sealed;

(2) the materials in a sealed manila envelope clearly marked "CONFIDENTIAL," and listing where in the record the materials were extracted;

(3) affix a copy of the protective order to the outside of the envelope;

(4) list the sealed materials in the index as "confidential documents";

D. Request to seal materials.

(1) A party may request that the court seal a pleading, document or other matter by filing a written motion, or the Court may, upon its own motion, initiate proceedings to seal or redact a court record. A party or attorney of record seeking to seal a pleading, document or other matter shall comply with the requirements of 51 O.S.Supp.2012, 24A.29. The motion shall disclose, in its title, that sealing is being sought and the grounds upon which sealing is required. The motion must be served on all parties to the action;

(2) The pleading, document or other matter sought to be sealed shall be enclosed in a manila envelope clearly marked "CONFIDENTIAL" and filed with the clerk of this Court in accordance with 51 O.S.Supp.2012, 24A.29;

(3) When a motion to seal a pleading, document or other matter has been filed, the information to be sealed remains confidential pending the Court's ruling on the motion;

E. Limitations on sealing. This Court will only remove materials from the public record in those instances where such withholding is necessary in the interest of justice and required by law. Nichols v. Jackson, 2001 OK CR 35, 10, 38 P.3d 228, 231; 51 O.S.Supp.2012, 24A.29;

Materials shall not be sealed under these rules when a reasonable redaction will adequately resolve the issue. Nichols v. Jackson, 2001 OK CR 35, 15, 38 P.3d 228, 232; 51 O.S.Supp.2016, 24A.5(2).

F. Procedures for maintaining sealed court records. The clerk, all parties, and attorneys of record shall maintain the confidentiality of materials sealed by protective order.

(1) When the clerk of this Court receives a protective court order directing the sealing or withholding of specified records, pleadings, documents or other matters, the clerk shall:

(a) File the protective order, which shall be accessible to the public.

(b) Docket the confidential materials as either "confidential record" or "confidential materials";

(c) Restrict access to the confidential materials so as to prevent unauthorized viewing of the materials.

(2) Confidential materials shall be opened and viewed only by an order of the Court.

(3) This Court will review confidential materials as part of the proper review of the record on appeal and as necessary to determine the issues raised. After such review, unless otherwise ordered, the materials shall remain confidential, sealed and withheld from the public record.


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