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What is the procedure (if any) to redact my name from CA appeals court decision that is more than two years old?

Los Angeles, CA |

My case is now posted on leagle.com even though it says "not to be published in the official reports" and anytime someone googles my name, the case comes up. This is embarrassing, and is hurting my personal and professional life.

I contacted leagle and they replied that my case has a formal citation. "Any case including citation(s) of other cases or that is cited subsequently in other case(s) is important in maintaining the complete interconnected appellate record. Removing this case would destroy this linkage thus compromising the integrity of our database."

They suggested I contact the court.

Under CA Rule 8.1125, I must make a request to the Supreme Court to de-publish within 30 days after the decision, so no help there.

What can I do. Please help!

I understand that it is a public record, etc. I'm looking for a way to keep it from showing up in a google search by using my name. This would NOT keep the record out of the public domain, nor from anyone finding out about the case if they were to do a background investigation. Other than Rule 8.1125, I could not find anything that addresses the courts experience with this, either positive or negative. 1) Is it possible to petition the court for relief? If so, where do I start? (superior court, COA, or supreme court?) Or how would I go about doing it, and is there any legal authority I could cite? Also, 2) what arguments can I use in my favor? For example, while public information, this is not current. My case has been expunged, so while the case is true, since my status has changed, this publication evokes the wrong idea. In summary what arguments - if any- could I use? Thank you so much for your help.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. The information is public even if the decision can't be published in the official reports. I know of no procedure that would allow you to redact a COA decision published or unpublished. BTW "published" means published in the official reporter; an unpublished decision can be picked up by ay legal internet search service.


  2. With some limited exceptions (=e.g., minors, victims of sexual crimes), all court proceedings are public record.. Further the status of published means, in practicatal, that other courts are bound by the decision. Even if "unpuslished" the case is public record.

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  3. Two things are causing you a problem: the internet and the First Amendment. Paradoxically you will only be able to solve this problem by relying on the internet and the First Amendment. You say that a google search brings up your name through leagle in a court case. I assume this means that this court case comes up in the first page of a google search for your name. Most people don't look beyond the first page of google results. Thus the solution to this problem is to get more (positive results) for your name that will appear above this leagle entry, thus knocking this entry to the second page or lower. I assume you have facebook, linkedin, google+ accounts - if not, set them up and put a lot of positive content that you would want professional and personal contacts to see (of course you can make all of this content private but regardless the more content, the more likely google will list this entry above the negative leagle entry. You can also build your own website or blog and use you name a lot. There are more sophisticated methods for getting multiple websites above the negative one - both "white hat" and "black hat" search engine optimization. Usually this is done to optimize one's website for potential customer views but in your case you can use these techniques to reduce the views of the negative site while increasing the number of views of the positive sites related to your name. The fact is that leagle is simply publishing a public record, that this public record is "publishable or citable" is a different question that isn't relevant to whether leagle can put this record online. There's nothing remotely defamatory or violative of your privacy rights and this is protected free speech. I think the only solution lies in what I suggested. You can hire technology people experienced in seo to help you with this but much can be done by yourself. Obviously if someone goes deep enough into the google search results, he will find your name but I think you should be safe in most cases where someone just looks at the first page. Best of luck.


  4. While it's not quite what you're asking, I might suggest trying to mitigate the harm this opinion is doing by creating more searchable content with your name. By creating a website, blog and social media presence (facebook, twitter, linkedin, instagram, myspace, meetup...the more the merrier), you'll wash out the opinion in question. In a matter of weeks, you should be able to get that opinion to the second page of searches for your name. I can give you some more specific guidance if you're interested.

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