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Court won’t seal evidence in Spierer civil suit

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Evidence in the federal civil suit against the last people believed to have seen missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer may not be covered by a broad order shielding exhibits and testimony from public view.

Spierer was 20 and a freshman on the IU Bloomington campus when she disappeared in June 2011. No arrests have been made, but Spierer’s parents sued the three men believed to have last seen her after a night of drinking and partying.

Robert and Mary Spierer in January asked Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to grant a protective order that would have broadly granted sealed discovery. The Spierers’ motion said a protective order was necessary “to protect the public disclosure of private and sensitive information that could detrimentally affect the ongoing criminal investigation and ensure an impartial jury at trial.”

Magistrate Tim Baker denied the motion Wednesday, writing the request was overbroad and failed to meet 7th Circuit standards. 

“The Court will not grant carte blanche to seal such material by way of an approved protective order,” Baker wrote, “and any subsequent motion seeking to seal any part of the record will be strictly scrutinized.”

The suit is Robert Evan Spierer and Mary Charlene Spierer v. Corey Rossman, Jason Isaac Rosenbaum and Michael B. Beth, 1:13-CV-00991-TWP-TAB. Pratt in December dismissed Beth from the suit and also dismissed negligence claims against Rosenbaum and Rossman. But she let stand negligence per say and dram shop liability claims against Rosenbaum and Rossman.

“Whether or not these claims can survive summary judgment is a matter for another day,” Pratt wrote in December.
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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