News & Press Coverage

Maine Newspapers Challenge Rule Concealing Electronic Court Records

Courthouse News Service
February 3, 2021

A Maine court committee in December established a 90-day blackout period rule on public access to newly filed electronic court records, a move which has been challenged by Maine's newspapers as a violation of the First Amendment. Paper filings will continue to be made available for viewing upon submission, but as Maine's courts increasingly move toward a fully electronic record-keeping system, the new rule sets a precedent to drastically reduce the transparency and accountability of the courts in the future.

The injunction against the new rule was filed by Preti Flaherty attorney Sig Schutz and Jeffrey Pyle of the Boston-based law firm Prince Lobel, representing a group of newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, and Sun Journal, and joined by Courthouse News Service.

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