Why would an affidavit be sealed? Also other various legal GQ legal questions

This is a story about a writer for ESPN who was arrested today on drug and child pornography charges. I’m guessing the reason for the seal is because of the child pornography charges.

Is this common? Does an affidavit mean that this case is likely to be part of a very substantial case and not just some porn with a 17 year old claiming to be legal.

I’m unfortunately thinking the details of the case are going to be pretty ugly. Since possession of narcotics is mentioned, i’m going to assume we’re talking more than a baggie of weed.

Is the bail reasonable for this type of case?

I’m interested because I listened to Jeremy Green for 3 years on a football podcast.

A judge will seal an affidavit or a warrant as long as you can show “good cause” for it to be sealed.

It’s not an unheard of thing. I’ve read a lot of cases where this has happened. The warrant or affidavit is usually sealed for a period of time and becomes unsealed automatically unless an extension is filed and granted.

A number of reasons.

  1. There’s an ongoing investigation of linked criminal activity by others and they don’t want to tip their hand as to what they’ve got any more than they have by making the arrest.

  2. Undercover officers or confidential informants provided a lot of the relevant evidence and again, they don’t want to compromise them too much.

  3. He was arrested at a hotel. Hmm. Isn’t that often where guys get arrested when they are going to meet underage kids they’re trying to hook up with? If that’s the scenario (no idea), they’d probably want to protect any actual minor from identification.

Sealing court papers is pretty common. Even in the non-criminal context it’s often requested and granted to protect confidential business information.

Well, I wouldn’t say “pretty common,” in my experience, but it certainly does happen. Some courts where bigtime civil litigation is frequently carried out (the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, or the Delaware Court of Chancery, for example) are quite a bit more likely to seal affidavits and other records. Sometimes, by agreement of the parties, the entire case file can be sealed, and even the identities of the parties kept under wraps, so that you see odd case names such as [Sealed] v. [Sealed].

Don’t read anything into the affidavit being sealed. Fairly routine. It will be unsealed in 14 days.

Other news accounts have said Green acknowledged using cocaine. But obviously, the 1st degree child pornography charge is the big deal here. According to the statute, that means he is alleged to have had “more than 50 depictions or images.” It’s a class B felony, which would carry a sentence of up to 20 years.

Hereis an update on the case.

A couple of other questions:

  1. Why a medical watch? Are there physical withdrawal symptoms from cocaine use or is this really a suicide watch?

  2. I guess it is possible that Green has spent every single penny on drugs or other things. But, I still find it very strange that he is using a public defender. I thought they were only for people who were very destitute. I can’t believe the son of an NFL son and former ESPN employee would be at this level of poverty…

I meant son of an NFL coach.

The guesses so far have been right, I think. Most filings are sealed because they pertain to (1) juveniles, (2) commercial trade secrets, or (3) ongoing governmental investigations.

But as to sealing the entire court file, I had thought that would require showing good cause to the court and obtaining its to do so — which requires a showing beyond a mere “we [plaintiffs and defendants] would prefer to keep this under wraps.”

It is a matter of local rules. In Delaware, it can happen by consent. In New Jersey, not so. It’s possible (probable?) that Delaware’s rules are unlawful or unconstitutional, but they’ve yet to be challenged.