Manning’s defense seeks public access to court filings
Seeking greater transparency, Manning’s defense asked to publish its filings online; the government rejected this request, but the defense is working to publish redacted versions instead
By David Coombs. March 30, 2012.
Our office has received several inquires regarding access to court filings by the parties. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Center for Constitutional Rights have both submitted letters indicating that the public is not adequately being informed of the proceedings. Each organization has stated that the lack of accessibility to court filings promotes the perception that issues are being decided behind closed doors. The organizations also believe the lack of transparency undercuts the public’s confidence in the fairness of the military justice system.
The Defense, in an effort to address the above concern, has requested authority to publish its motions and the Government’s responses on our website. The Government has opposed this request. The Court has issued an Interim Order that the Defense may publish appropriately redacted versions of its motions, but only after the Government is provided with an opportunity to review the redacted filings and raise any objection with the Court.
The Defense is currently in the process of redacting the various motions filed at our last hearing on March 16, 2012:
a) Defense Motion to Compel Discovery;
b) Defense Reply Motion to Compel Discovery;
c) Defense Motion to Compel Depositions;
d) Defense Motion for Bill of Particulars; and
e) Defense Motion to Dismiss All Charges and Specifications with Prejudice
The Defense is also redacting its filings submitted on 29 and 30 March 2012:
a) Defense Motion to Dismiss the Aiding the Enemy Offense;
b) Defense Motion to Dismiss Specification 1 of Charge II;
c) Defense Motion to Dismiss Based Upon Unreasonable Multiplication of Charges; and
d) Defense Renewal of Motion to Compel Discovery of Computers
In accordance with the Court’s guidance, the Defense will submit the redacted motions to the Court and Government on April 2nd. The Government will have until April 17th to state any objection that it has to the redacted filings. If the Government does not have any objections, or if any objection can be easily resolved, the Defense will be permitted to publicly release its filings. If the Government’s objection cannot be resolved, the Defense will not be permitted to publicly release its filings and the issue will be addressed during our next hearing on April 24th through the 26th.
David Coombs is PFC Bradley Manning’s chief legal counsel. This post first appeared at Coombs’ blog.