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My case is now posted on leagle.com even though it says "not to be published in the official reports" and anytime someone googles my name, the case comes up.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

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

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 I know of no procedure that would allow you to redact a COA decision published or unpublished. BTW "published" means published in the official reporter; an unpublished decision can be picked up by ay legal internet search service.

Asker

Posted

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 gives someone the wrong idea. In summary what arguments - if any- could I use? Thank you so much for your help.

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Posted

Now you are beginning to understand the limitations of CA's so-called expungement law. It erases nothing and does not allow you to go back in time and change older court documents to reflect the expungement. As for keeping your name off google that is not a legal issue.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your comment, but I was hoping you could clarify. Is there a law that prohibits redacting a name from a public record? Rule 8.1125 clearly allows for the de-publishing of records, provided the request is within the specified 30 days to de-publish. But I am not seeking to un publish the record, simply redact my name from it. Is there a law that prohibits this? I have been unable to find any law or rule that prohibits this, or allows it. In this case, I want to petition the court to redact my name from the document. How do I do this? Thank you.

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Posted

You don't. Your question has been answered many times. Accept it.

Asker

Posted

A simple google search of "Redact Appeals Court decisions" brings up a myriad of examples where courts redact names from documents. So I would disagree with you. The State of Oregon actually sets this out in this document http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/RULE177.pdf I am not a lawyer, so I am asking for help here to do this in the state of California. Again, my simple question has not been answered, and since there is no rule of law prohibiting such an act, there must be a way. What would be the procedure? Would I petition the Appeals court, or the Supreme court? Thanks.

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Posted

We are not in the state of Oregon. The rules you site and the google searches you reference are misinterpreted. If you could redact your name from a decision then we couldn't have published lists of sex offenders now could we?

Asker

Posted

One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. P.C. 290 creates the list, and P.C. 290..5 sets out how sex offenders can have their names removed from the registry. There is absolutely NO LAW, none, zilch, nada, that prohibits a person from requesting and/or a court from granting such request to redact their name from a document. Period. I am still flabbergasted at how there is no lawyer than describe a procedure in which to make a request since such a request it is OBVIOUSLY not violating any rule of law, rule of court, or procedure. It is OBVIOUS that courts have redacted names on documents before so IT CAN BE DONE. I understand that maybe courts have not done it in such cases as mine, and therein lies the issue that no one knows how to proceed. all I'm asking for is help with that from a lawyer who is familiar with the court system, or if not, then research and find out. Thank you.

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Posted

You can request anything. When you don't get it you can pound sand. If it were such an obvious procedure as you claim it is amazing that no lawyer has sent you an e-mail asking for a few this and to get the job done.

Asker

Posted

I can request anything? Excellent! Now we’re finally getting somewhere. I will refer to my ORIGINAL question: what is the procedure for this? I.e. how do I make my request? And who do I make it to? At this point, whether it is granted or not is irrelevant. I just want to know the procedure to make my request. Yes, it is amazing to me as well why no lawyer can answer this simple question. We’re talking about procedure here. We can discuss the merits of the argument for and against granting such a request another time.

Posted

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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Asker

Posted

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 gives someone the wrong idea. In summary what arguments - if any- could I use? Thank you so much for your help.

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your comment. While I may have to resort to such seo tactics, before I do, I want to ensure I've exhausted all other options. I didn't do that originally which is partially how I ended up in this mess in the first place. I understand that it is a public record, etc. So 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 gives someone the wrong idea. In summary what arguments - if any- could I use? Thank you so much for your help.

Posted

It is public record and cannot be redacted.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your comment, but I was hoping you could clarify. Is there a law that prohibits redacting a name from a public record? Rule 8.1125 clearly allows for the de-publishing of records, so I don't see why my name cannot be redacted, other than not being within the specified 30 days to de-publish. But I am not seeking to un publish the record, simply redact my name from it. Is there a law the prohibits this? I have been unable to find any law or rule that prohibits this, or allows it. In this case, I want to petition the court to redact my name from the document. How do I do this? Thank you.

Asker

Posted

A simple google search of "Redact Appeals Court decisions" brings up a myriad of examples where courts redact names from documents. So I would disagree with you. The State of Oregon actually sets this out in this document http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/RULE177.pdf I am not a lawyer, so I am asking for help here to do this in the state of California. Again, my simple question has not been answered, and since there is no rule of law prohibiting such an act, there must be a way. What would be the procedure? Would I petition the Appeals court, or the Supreme court? How would I do this? Thanks.

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response. I appreciate your comment, but unfortunately, this has not worked for me thus far. This proudly sits at the number one spot, well above my facebook presence, etc. This case is also unfortunately not the only negative thing about me. I would certainly appreciate any specific guidance as maybe there is a better way to do this. In all honesty though, and again I appreciate your response, but it boggles the mind why so many lawyers on here cannot answer a simple question when a simple google search of "Redact Appeals Court decisions" brings up a myriad of examples where courts redact names from documents. The State of Oregon actually sets this out in this document http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/RULE177.pdf I am not a lawyer, so I am asking for help here to do this in the state of California. Since I find no rule of law prohibiting such an act, there must be a way. What would be the procedure? Would I petition the Appeals court, or the Supreme court? How would I do this? Thank you.

Nicholas Milan Loncar

Nicholas Milan Loncar

Posted

Especially with other bad things coming up in searches, I think your best bet is to have someone create good/neutral content that google will see as more relevant to your name search. If you're serious about making sure people don't see the negative search results, contact Sterling Davis at snd@thesterlingorganization.com. His company does a lot of this "reputation enhancement" work and can bury those damaging pages.