150 F.3d 1246 (10th Cir. 1998), 97-2064, United States v. Gonzales

Docket Nº:97-2064, 97-2095 and 97-2101.
Citation:150 F.3d 1246
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Cesar GONZALES aka Cougar; Hector Gabriel Lopez aka Shaggy; Uriel Martinez aka Duke; Cesar Juarez aka Pelon; Gustavo Azcuenaga aka Mono; Luis Delcid aka Stranger; Ernest Guevara aka Yogi; Russell Barboa aka Chino; John Acosta aka Lefty; Byron Zamora aka Trigger; Oscar Villa aka Wino; Richard Acosta aka Shorty
Case Date:July 28, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 1246

150 F.3d 1246 (10th Cir. 1998)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,

v.

Cesar GONZALES aka Cougar; Hector Gabriel Lopez aka Shaggy;

Uriel Martinez aka Duke; Cesar Juarez aka Pelon; Gustavo

Azcuenaga aka Mono; Luis Delcid aka Stranger; Ernest

Guevara aka Yogi; Russell Barboa aka Chino; John Acosta

aka Lefty; Byron Zamora aka Trigger; Oscar Villa aka Wino;

Richard Acosta aka Shorty; Roger Preciado aka Cartoon;

Jaime Villa aka Psycho; Marcos Mazzini aka Lucky; Vincent

Najar aka Stalker; Jason Delatorre aka J Bone; Charles

Taylor aka Yogie; Uriel Bustamonte aka Caps; Michael Mora

aka M & M; David Gallardo aka Cyclone; Neal Polus aka Troy

Thompson aka Evil; Frank Lara, aka Spooky, Defendants--Appellees,

Albuquerque Journal, Intervenor,

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; New

Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Amici Curiae.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,

v.

Cesar GONZALES aka Cougar; Cesar Juarez aka Pelon; Gustavo

Azcuenaga aka Mono; Luis Delcid aka Stranger; Ernest

Guevara aka Yogi; Russell Barboa aka Chino; John Acosta

aka Lefty; Byron Zamora aka Trigger; Oscar Villa aka Wino;

Richard Acosta aka Shorty; Roger Preciado aka Cartoon;

Marcos Mazzini aka Lucky; Vincent Najar aka Stalker; Jason

Delatorre aka J Bone; Charles Taylor aka Yogie; Uriel

Bustamonte aka Caps; Neal Polus aka Troy Thompson aka Evil,

Defendants-Appellants,

Albuquerque Journal, Intervenor,

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; New

Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Amici Curiae.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,

v.

Cesar GONZALES aka Cougar; Uriel Martinez aka Duke; Cesar

Juarez aka Pelon; Gustavo Azcuenaga aka Mono; Luis Delcid

aka Stranger; Ernest Guevara aka Yogi; Russell Barboa aka

Chino; John Acosta aka Lefty; Byron Zamora aka Trigger;

Oscar Villa aka Wino; Richard Acosta aka Shorty; Roger

Preciado aka Cartoon; Marcos Mazzini aka Lucky; Vincent

Najar aka Stalker; Jason Delatorre aka J Bone; Charles

Taylor aka Yogie; Uriel Bustamonte aka Caps; Michael Mora

aka M & M; David Gallardo aka Cyclone; Neal Polus aka Troy

Thompson aka Evil, Defendants,

and

Hector Gabriel Lopez aka Shaggy; Jaime Villa aka Psycho;

Frank Lara aka Spooky, Defendants-Appellants.

Albuquerque Journal, Intervenor,

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; New

Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Amici Curiae.

Nos. 97-2064, 97-2095 and 97-2101.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

July 28, 1998

Page 1247

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1248

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1249

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1250

William S. Dixon (Charles K. Purcell with him on the briefs), Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A., Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Intervenor/Appellant Albuquerque Journal.

Gail J. Evans, Hannum & Evans, Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Appellees Cesar Gonzales, Cesar Juarez, Gustavo Azcuenaga, Luis Delcid; Ernest Guevara; Russell Barboa; John Acosta; Byron Zamora; Oscar Villa; Richard Acosta; Roger Preciado; Marcos Mazzini; Vincent Najar; Jason Delatorre; Charles Taylor; Uriel Bustamonte; and Neal Polus.

Marc H. Robert, Barnett, Allison & Robert, Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Appellees Hector Gabriel Lopez, Jaime Villa, and Frank Lara.

Steven G. Farber, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Barbara Bergman, Albuquerque, New Mexico, filed an amici curiae brief for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Before ANDERSON, McKAY, and BRISCOE, Circuit Judges.

STEPHEN H. ANDERSON, Circuit Judge.

We must determine in this case whether the press has a constitutional, common law, or statutory right of access to court-sealed fee, cost, and expense applications and related information filed under the Criminal Justice Act ("CJA"), 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, by court-appointed criminal defense attorneys, as well as transcripts from hearings and court orders concerning those applications. If there is a right of access, then at what time and under what conditions.

Construing Intervenor Albuquerque Journal's appeal and the Defendants' cross-appeals as petitions for writs of mandamus, 1 we hold as follows: (1) there is no First Amendment right of access to documents provided as backup detail for CJA vouchers, or certain related motions, orders, and transcripts; (2) there is no right of access to CJA vouchers or related information pursuant to the common law because, even if relevant common law previously existed on this subject, it has been supplanted by the CJA; and (3) the press has no statutory right of access to the materials in question, but the court has discretion to release certain material subject to the conditions outlined below. Applying these principles to this case, we hold that the court acted within its discretion in ordering the release of the CJA vouchers (as defined below) at the end of all Defendants' sentencing hearings and in ordering the release of the total amounts expended in individual cases at the end of each Defendant's sentencing hearing; but the court abused its discretion in ordering the unconditional release of the sealed backup

Page 1251

documents, motions, orders, and transcripts at the end of all Defendants' sentencing hearings because the court incorrectly concluded that the interests governing whether or not particular information should be redacted or remain under seal terminate at the conclusion of the trials. Accordingly, we deny the Journal's application for a writ of mandamus and grant a writ of mandamus to the Defendants.

I.

BACKGROUND

Twenty-three Defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of New Mexico for various offenses, including murder, attempted murder, drug distribution, and racketeering. All of the Defendants are indigent, and accordingly, the district court appointed each Defendant counsel pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A. 2 The Defendants are allegedly members of the "Sureno 13" street gang in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the case has attracted wide-spread media attention. Several of the Defendants ("Cooperating Defendants"), as well as other non-indicted individuals, entered into agreements with the government to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of the case. Some of these Cooperating Defendants will testify at the trials of the other Defendants and several of the Cooperating Defendants and cooperating individuals have been admitted into the Witness Security Program, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3521-28. Many of the remaining Defendants ("Non-Cooperating Defendants") have also entered into plea agreements with the government. The government seeks the death penalty as to three Defendants. R. Vol. I at 164-65.

  1. The CJA Payment Process

    Pursuant to the CJA and the Administrative Office of United States Courts' Guide to Judiciary Policies & Procedures, attorneys appointed by the court to represent indigent defendants in criminal cases are paid by the government out of funds appropriated for that purpose. These attorneys claim compensation and expenses by submitting prescribed forms: CJA form 30 for death penalty cases and form 20 for all other cases. 3 These forms are generally submitted at the end of trial in non-capital cases, but the court may grant an attorney's request for interim billing, which is more common in capital cases because the proceedings are typically longer. The forms require the attorney to list any expenses incurred and to categorize his or her time spent in each of the following areas: arraignment and/or plea, bail and detention hearings, motions hearings, trial, sentencing hearings, revocation hearings, appeals court, other in-court hearings, interviews and conferences, obtaining and reviewing records, legal research and brief writing, travel time, and investigative and other work. The voucher consists of a single page. A current version of form 20 is attached hereto.

    On application by appointed counsel, and after an ex parte hearing, the court may also allow the defense to engage the services of law clerks, investigators, experts in various fields, and others, whose compensation is not to exceed amounts specified by statute, unless that amount is waived. See 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(e)(3); 21 U.S.C. § 848(q)(10)(B). 4 Requests for compensation for these services are submitted on CJA form 31 for death penalty cases and on form 21 for all other cases. These forms require information as to the type of services performed, such as psychiatric, fingerprint, or ballistics, and an

    Page 1252

    itemization of services rendered and expenses incurred. These forms are also generally submitted at the end of trial in non-capital cases, but the court may allow interim billing and generally does so in capital cases. Both forms 21 and 31 consist of a single page. A current version of form 21 is attached hereto.

    In addition to the information contained on forms 20, 21, 30, and 31, the applicants must submit backup documentation, including detailed time sheets specifying the specific services performed and receipts for expenses incurred. The district court has discretion as to the amount of supporting detail it will require, and therefore the amount of detail contained in the backup documentation varies depending on the judge as well as the complexity of the case. Motions and orders relating to the appointment of individuals other than counsel as well as transcripts from ex parte hearings related thereto are generally placed under seal. CJA vouchers and backup documentation related to services of counsel and non-counsel and any motions, orders, and hearing transcripts...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP