ARLJ 9 - Disclosure of RecordsComments for ARLJ 9 must be received no later than June 30, 2013.
GR 9 Cover Sheet
Suggested Amendments to
Repeal ARLJ 9: Disclosure of Records
C. Purpose: The Supreme Court requested the District and Municipal Court Judges Association (DMCJA) review the apparent conflict between GR 31 and ARLJ 9 and provide a recommendation to resolve the conflict. The DMCJA has determined that because access to court records in courts of limited jurisdiction is governed by two court rules that are not entirely consistent with each other, GR 31 and ARLJ 9, it may create confusion for courts and the public. DMCJA therefore recommends the repeal of ARLJ 9 and related rules CrRLJ 8.10 and 8.11, with the simultaneous amendment to GR 31 by adding a new section (l). A separate GR 9 Cover Sheet will be submitted with each rule proposal.
ARLJ 9 was adopted in 1987 and was the only court rule at that time addressing disclosure of court records. It contains three categories of court records based on the degree of public access of those records: Public, Private, and Quasi-Public. To assure that only public records are reviewed by the public, ARLJ 9(e) expressly allows for judicial review before a court record is released. The prosecuting authority, defendant, court clerks, or other interested parties may request such review.
By contrast, GR 31, Access to Court Records, is applicable to all Washington courts and establishes a presumption of public access to court records, in keeping with "article I, section 10 of the Washington State Constitution." GR 31(a). GR 31 reflects the Supreme Court's approval of the common law presumption of open court records. "The common law right of access to judicial records is well recognized in this country." Cowles Publ'g Co. v. Murphy, 96 Wn.2d 584, 588, 637 P.2d 966 (1981).
ARLJ 9 has not been amended since its adoption in 1987. Its general approach and a few of its provisions are no longer consistent with GR 31 and case law involving access to court records. If court records were presumptively open, there would be no need to label records as "public, private, or quasi-public". This approach may create confusion for courts and the public. The DMCJA recommends the Supreme Court repeal ARLJ 9 and simultaneously amend GR 31, which is discussed in a separate proposal.
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