[Orin Kerr, November 14, 2005 at 9:21pm] Trackbacks
Secret Docketing in Florida Federal Courts?:
Law.com has a troubling story about federal district courts in Florida putting cases on a "secret docket." The intro:
Last month, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals chastised judges of the Southern District of Florida for completely hiding cases from public view by placing the cases on a secret court docket.The Eleventh Circuit's October 20th decision in United States v. Ochoa-Vasquez is available here. Hat tip: HoBa.
"We … exercise our supervisory authority to remind the district court that it cannot employ the secret docketing procedures that we explicitly found unconstitutional," the panel said in its unusual reprimand.
Defense attorneys, civil liberties groups and the news media celebrated the panel's words, which came in the course of upholding a drug lord's conviction and sentence of more than 30 years in prison.
Now, one of the South Florida federal judges who agreed to hide a case admits that she made a mistake and vows never to do it again. "Judges are not gods," U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz, a seven-year veteran of the federal bench, said in an interview. "Like any human being, we make mistakes. When your mistake is pointed out, you reconsider your action and you promptly make a correction."