January 4, 2008
U.S. District Court, District of Maine Practice
with Respect to Sealed Filings
In both civil and criminal actions, cases may be sealed in their entirety, or only as to certain documents. Sealing may be required when a case is initiated or at various times during the proceedings. Cases and documents can only be sealed by statute, local rule, or an order of the court. A sealed case or document cannot be examined except by order of the court, or by certain judicial employees.*
In a criminal case which is not sealed in its entirety, when an individual document is sealed neither the docket entry nor the document is available to be examined by the public without a court order. Examples of this might include: Motions to Seal, Sealed Plea Agreements, Petitions to Revoke Supervised Release prior to arrest, Arrest Warrants prior to arrest
In a civil case which is not sealed in its entirety, when an individual document is sealed the docket entry remains publicly available. However, the sealed document itself is not available to be examined by the public except by court order. Examples of this might include: Motion to Seal, Unredacted Documents
*Judicial Employees with access to sealed documents include the Clerk of Court, Chief Deputy, Divisional Manager, Information Systems Analyst, Case Managers, Chambers Staff and Probation Officers.