US v. Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev., No. 09-10875 - Criminal Law - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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US v. Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev., No. 09-10875

Third Party Improperly Named in Government's Brief in Criminal Matter

In US v. Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev., No. 09-10875, third-party movant's appeal from the district court's holding that movant's Fifth Amendment rights were violated by its public naming in an attachment to the government's criminal pre-trial brief but denying its requested equitable relief, including inter alia expungement of its name and a public declaration by the court that its rights were violated, the court affirmed in part where the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to expunge the mention of movant in the newly sealed attachment.  However, the court reversed in part where, because the power to seal court records must be used sparingly in light of the public's right to access, because movant's interest in mitigating its reputational injuries favored disclosure, and because there was no countervailing government interest in nondisclosure, the district court's decision to seal its opinion and order finding that movant's rights were violated constituted an abuse of its discretion.

As the court wrote:  "Third-party movant North American Islamic Trust ("NAIT") appeals from
the district court's order holding that NAIT's Fifth Amendment rights were violated by its public naming in an attachment to the Government's criminal pre-trial brief but denying NAIT's requested equitable relief, including inter alia expungement of NAIT's name and a public declaration by the court that NAIT's rights were violated."

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