United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT
M. DiGirolamo United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion to seal
her criminal case in which she was convicted of concealing a
person from arrest in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1071. She
alternatively requests that the Court expunge her criminal
conviction. No hearing is necessary. L.R. 105.6.
October 29, 2013, Defendant pleaded guilty to concealing a
person from arrest in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1071. On
January 29, 2014, the Court placed Defendant on probation,
which ended in October 2014. On March 4, 2016, the Court
denied Defendant's request for expungement. Defendant now
seeks a sealing of her case or expungement of her criminal
conviction because she is “trying to get a top security
clearance working in the law enforcement division, ”
because she has “accepted responsibility in this
case” and has “fulfilled all requirements,
” and because “it is now a couple of years
later” and she has “not had any other occurrence
before any other law enforcement or charges brought against
Defendant's motion to seal, “[t]he Supreme Court
has recognized that the press and the public have a common
law qualified right of access to judicial records.”
United States v. Ware, No. 5:97CR47-02,
2015 WL 2137133, at *2 (N.D. W.Va. May 7, 2015) (citing
Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589,
597-99 (1978)), aff'd mem. per curiam, 627 F.
App'x 261 (4th Cir. 2016). “However, a judicial
officer's decision to seal, or to grant access to
judicial records, is discretionary.” Id.
(citing Balt. Sun Co. v. Goetz, 886 F.2d 60, 65 (4th
Cir.1989)). “The interest to be protected by closing
trial proceedings must ‘be articulated along with
findings specific enough that a reviewing court can determine
whether the closure order was properly entered.'”
Id. (quoting same). “The Fourth Circuit has
applied these principles to requests to seal judicial
documents.” Id. (citing same).
“The Fourth Circuit has recognized that ‘a
compelling governmental interest exists in protecting the
integrity of an ongoing law enforcement
investigation.'” Id. (quoting Va.
Dep't of State Police v. Wash. Post, 386
F.3d 567, 579 (4th Cir. 2004)). “However, even when
given that compelling interest to consider, the Fourth
Circuit has denied motions to seal judicial documents.”
Id. (citing Va. Dep't of State Police,
386 F.3d at 579; Balt. Sun, 886 F.2d at 65).
the Fourth Circuit has denied a request to seal where the
interest of the moving party was the confidentiality of
medical review proceedings and the underlying medical
records.” Id. (citing Stone v. Univ. of
Md. Med. Sys. Corp., 948 F.2d 128, 131 (4th Cir. 1991)).
course, this Court and other courts do, from time to time,
seal court documents or portions thereof, when private
personal identifiers, such as social security numbers, are
found to be included; but that is not the situation
This Court cannot find that the defendant's interest[s]
are as compelling as the interests cited above, which were
themselves not enough to overcome the presumption that
judicial records and documents should not be sealed. The
defendant's interests are based on possible employment
decisions and other equitable interests that are insufficient
to support a finding that the defendant's request should
be granted. As such, this Court finds that the
defendant's criminal record should not be sealed.
Id. Defendant's motion to seal thus is DENIED.
Defendant's alternative request for expungement, because
there is no applicable statute providing for expungement in a
case such as this one, the only available jurisdictional
basis is the doctrine of ancillary jurisdiction. United
States v. McKnight, 33 F.Supp.3d 577, 580 (D. Md. 2014).
[F]ederal courts generally may invoke the doctrine of
ancillary jurisdiction in two circumstances: (1) where
necessary to permit disposition by a single court of claims
that are factually interdependent; and (2) “to enable a
court to function successfully, that is, to manage its
proceeding, vindicate its authority, and effectuate its
Id. (citing Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 379-80 (1994)).
the adjudicative facts underlying Defendant's conviction
are not interdependent with the equitable considerations
raised by Defendant's request for expungement. See
Doe v. United States, ___ F.3d ___, No. 15-1967-cr, 2016
WL 4245425, at *4 (2d Cir. Aug. 11, 2016); United States
v. Harris, 847 F.Supp.2d 828, 834 (D. Md. 2012).
Further, expungement of Defendant's criminal conviction
runs contrary to a federal court's ability to vindicate
its authority and effectuate its decrees. See Doe,
2016 WL 4245425, at *4; Harris, 847 F.Supp.2d at
834-35; United States v. Mitchell, 683 F.Supp.2d