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COA reiterates confidential-information filing

June 3, 2009

The Indiana Court of Appeals emphasized in an opinion today the proper procedure for filing documents with confidential information, instigated by the fact the appellant's original appendix included a pre-sentence report on white paper and included a Social Security number.

In Joel C. Vaughen v. State of Indiana, No. 79A02-0811-CR-1032, Judge L. Mark Bailey reiterated in a lengthy footnote how information should be filed, what should be excluded, and on what color paper it should be submitted. Joel C. Vaughen's original appendix had a pre-sentence report on white paper, which should be excluded from public access filings pursuant to Ind. Administrative Rule 9(G)(1)(b)(viii). Documents excluded from public access are supposed to be included on light green paper or have a light green coversheet marked "Not for Public Access" or "Confidential."

Sometimes a simple redaction of confidential information is sufficient, such as if a relevant document in a dissolution case includes a bank account number. The number could be redacted without having to include the entire document in a green appendix, wrote Judge Bailey.

"If the information cannot be redacted or if the information is relevant to the issues raised on appeal, then the entire document can and should be included in a green appendix," he wrote.

The Court of Appeals affirmed Vaughen's 12-year sentence following a guilty plea to conspiracy to deal in cocaine. Vaughen was the ringleader in an operation to sell cocaine and used couriers to lessen the time in which he had the illegal drugs in his possession. The sentence is appropriate given his character, wrote the judge, because Vaughen has never been employed and has four children by three different women. He was also on probation for another drug conviction at the time of his most-recent arrest.

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