Attorney-at-Law

SEAL, BUT REVEAL

In Uncategorized on 11/21/2017 at 16:53

Once again it’s a Rule 27 motion to seal, but Zane W. Penley & Monika J. Penley, Docket No. 13243-15, filed 11/21/17, don’t go in for halfway measures. They want Judge Wherry to seal the entire record. Zane got dinged in a T. C. Memo. for claiming real estate pro back last April.

Zane & Monika claim IRS failed to redact some documents IRS put into the record, wherefore “…they and/or the witness fell victim to identity theft and a telephone scam.” Order, at p. 1.

I didn’t blog the T. C. Memo. because it was the usual hours-shortage case, so I had nothing to do with it.

But Zane & Monika come up short on the proof side. “Other than the motion itself, petitioners have not prodded any factual support or affidavit to meet their burden under Rule 103(a), which is partially derived from Fed R. Civ. P. 26(c). Ash v. Commissioner, 95 T.C. 459, 469 (1991). Rule 103(a) requires petitioners to prove that the information they are seeking to seal is of the type of information that courts will protect and show good cause for protecting it.” Order, at p. 1.

And Judge Wherry cites to Amazon.com & Subsidiaries, 2016 T. C. Memo. 131, which I did blog. See my blogpost “Snow(den) Job,” 7/18/16.

Besides, Zane & Monika handed in papers showing “…some of the unredacted personal information referenced in petitioner’s motion to seal, such as financial account numbers, was submitted by petitioners themselves. A person is deemed to waive the protection of the privacy rules as to the person’s own information by filing it without redaction and not under seal. Rule 27(g).” Order, at p. 2. (Footnote omitted).

IRS did blow it as to one exhibit, but moved to file a redacted version, and did, last year.

So if Zane & Monika have anything they want to redact so as to omit personally identifiable info, they can send in redacted versions per Rule 27(a). If Zane & Monika think IRS put in other documents with such info, they can tell IRS, and IRS shall submit redacted versions.

But seal the entire record? Not hardly. The public’s right to know, y’know.

“For public policy reasons, as a general rule, the official records of all courts, including this Court, shall be open and available to the public for inspection and copying. The underlying reason is that ‘[o]pen trials and public access to our records promote fairness and the search for truth, help enlighten public opinion, and assure confidence in the judicial process.” Order, at p. 2 (Citations omitted).

So how ‘bout putting it all online, Judge, like Bankruptcy Court and the Article III Courts?

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