276.81 sec. 001 - Secrecy: The Use and Abuse of Information Control in the Courts (Fall 2019)
Instructor: Rebecca Wexler (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only
- TuTh 2:10 PM - 3:25 PM
Location: Law 115
From August 20, 2019
To November 22, 2019
Course End: November 22, 2019
Class Number: 32700
Enroll Limit: 24
As of: 04/07 11:14 PM
It is a long-standing legal principle that, when it comes to litigation, “the public has a right to every person’s evidence,” and that what happens in courtrooms and court records should be transparent and open to all. Yet, courts routinely block subpoenas, seal records, and close hearings to protect sensitive information from disclosure. This seminar will explore the use and abuse of secrecy in the courts. Topics include: prohibitions on subpoenas for social media records; the use of confidential informants to conceal warrantless cell phone tracking; protections for police privacy that double as shields against impeachment of police officers; the digital forensics arms race between forgers and fraud detectors; “grey mail” tactics of threatening disclosure in litigation in order to force dismissal; trade secret obstacles to making challenges to algorithmic decisions; and the reporter’s privilege not to reveal anonymous sources. How do these judicial protections compare to analogous substantive information law, such as classification, commercial secrecy, and personal privacy? More broadly, how does secrecy in courts affect trust in the judicial system and its democratic legitimacy? We will engage in close reading of foundational cases, as well as litigation documents and legal scholarship. The course will feature guest speakers from both legal practice and the academy.
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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.