Careful and long time readers of the blog remember when we roasted the Federal College of Cardinals for their secret dockets, especially after they continued the practice although the 11th Circuit in Atlanta told them, to use a legal term:
"Hey! Cut-it-out." See this blog under Shhh...It's a Secret.
The Miami Herald reported yesterday about secret court records, and public court records being altered to further criminal investigations. If you read the comments of yesterday, there is a link and the whole story reported. Many readers asked for our view.
For all of left leaning liberal rants, without forming a final opinion, we recognize a LIMITED need in rare cases for courts to alter records to assist an on-going law enforcement investigation.
The question is: could you envision a scenario where the ends justified the means? To save a human life? Sure. To stop a terrorist's use of a WMD? Of course.
Fake cases with fake defendants and fake records were used to ferret out judicial corruption in our own building over 15 years ago. That was worth it (especially if you had to try a case in front of Gelber, Davis, or Shenberg and were not on their list. Bunch-a simple corrupt thieves.)
To further a narcotics case? hmmm...
Is the resulting publics' loss of confidence in the judicial system worth any drug case? For those of us in the system, it has been clear for decades that drug cases are fueled by money- the money law enforcement makes in those cases. Federal grants, seizures and forfeitures fuel the agencies, while that money pays for the overtime for officers. Narcotics investigations are a good topic for another day.
Why wasn't there procedures covering the altering of court records? What about a panel of three Judges, like a judicial oversight committee? It pains us to say this, but the Feds have their act together on a similar issue. They have an entire intelligence court system with judges trained and certified to review legal issues in sensitive intelligence cases.
How about Legislative Guidelines to cover these cases, with SAO and 11th Circuit internal guidelines to supplement the law? And how about rules to correct the record when the case was over?
Ahhh.. whadda we know?
(We know enough to tell you yesterday to take Michigan +7 and the over. Ahem-both won).