Court: Search Documents to Stay Sealed

California appeals court has denied a request by the Press-Enterprise
in Riverside to unseal search warrants that led to former San Bernardino County
Assessor Bill Postmus' January 15 arrest on two drug offenses, the newspaper reports.

In a
three-paragraph decision issued Wednesday, 4th District Court of Appeal
Associate Justice Douglas P. Miller said that San Bernardino County
Superior Court Judge Douglas Elwell was correct when he denied the
newspaper's two requests to make the documents public.

Elwell had said that unsealing the warrants could harm an ongoing
investigation by the San Bernardino County district attorney's office
and endanger informants.

The newspaper had argued that
the public has a First Amendment right to access the documents,
especially in cases involving possible public corruption.

"We're deeply disappointed," said attorney Al Wickers, who represented The Press-Enterprise.

"While we appreciate that protecting an ongoing investigation may
justify limited secrecy in some circumstances, we continue to question
whether it justifies the wholesale sealing of these important court
records," Wickers said.


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