Flynt v. Lombardi, No. 16-1295 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of intervenor's motion to unseal certain judicial records. The underlying litigation involved an omnibus Eighth Amendment challenge to Missouri's execution protocol where state government agencies filed documents under seal in order to be able to carry out executions. The court held that, under common law, the district court did not abuse its discretion in deciding that the documents at issue should remain sealed and that there was not way to redact the information to preserve certain identities. The court also held that intervenor has not established a First Amendment right to unseal the information where there was no historic tradition of accessibility, and public access to the documents in the instant case would not play a significant positive role in the function of Missouri's execution protocol. Finally, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in electing to review the supplemental briefing in camera, and denying intervenor's subsequent request to review it.