News & Resources

Montana Supreme Court to rule on public access to records

Dec 23, 2010 Matt Roesly

In Montana, the state's Supreme Court will soon decide whether or not to restrict public court records online that are currently available to the public over fears that information could end up in the wrong hands. The Washington Post reports that the proposal would seal all documents filed in family law cases, with the exception of final orders. According to many proponents, the added privacy measures are necessary in order to prevent information from getting into the hands of someone who shouldn't have it. According to Montana state law librarian Judith Meadows, who helped write the bill, the change is necessary before the problem gets out of control. "We're trying to keep the horse in the barn before the door is opened," Meadows said in an interview with the Post. "The problem is, the rules need changing to catch up with the technology." The courts have been busy dealing with online privacy matters. A federal appeals court in Los Angeles recently ruled that police must obtain a search warrant before accessing a suspect's email records.