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Sealed File

State v. John Doe, 2005 WI App 68
For John Doe: Amelia L. Bizzaro (the court file has been ordered sealed, and the caption amended “to shield the defendant’s identity”)


¶11. We next address the defendant’s allegation that the trial court erroneously exercised its discretion when it denied his request to file his sentence modification motion under seal. “Documents are presented under seal precisely so that their secrecy might be preserved and disclosure to the public might be prevented.” State v. Gilmore, 201 Wis. 2d 820, 833, 549 N.W.2d 401 (1996). …¶12. The defendant explained that he sought such an order so that he could quote from the sealed sentencing transcript. The trial court denied this request without giving its reason or holding a hearing. Without any explanation from the trial court as to its reasons for the denial, the defendant was prohibited from quoting from the sentencing transcript. Having no explanation of the court’s decision, and noting that the defendant appears to have been severely restrained in presenting his request for sentence modification, we conclude that the trial court erroneously exercised its discretion in denying the request. On remand, we order the trial court to allow the defendant to supplement his motion under seal. For the reasons stated, we reverse the trial court and remand with directions.


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