2014 Opinion No. 108
Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Melissa Moody, District Judge.
Order denying motion to seal court record, affirmed.
Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Ben P. McGreevy, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.
Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; John C. McKinney, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
GUTIERREZ, Chief Judge. Judge LANSING and Judge MELANSON, CONCUR.
GUTIERREZ, Chief Judge
Jonathan A. Collins appeals from the order of the district court denying Collins' motion to seal his court record. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURE
Collins was charged by criminal complaint with lewd conduct with a minor child under
sixteen after a three-year-old child allegedly told her mother that Collins touched her inappropriately. After Collins waived a preliminary hearing, an information was filed alleging lewd conduct with a minor child under sixteen. Collins subsequently moved to suppress statements made by him, including statements during a police interview, alleging that the statements were coerced and made in violation of Miranda. Prior to a hearing on the motion to suppress, Collins filed a notice of intent to use evidence that would be subject to Idaho Rule of Evidence 404(b). Specifically, the Rule 404(b) evidence was that the child's mother had made a false statement after she committed the offenses of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. More importantly, there was also evidence that the mother had filed a false police report, claiming she had been kidnapped and raped. A day before the hearing on the motion to suppress, the State filed a motion to dismiss because, " In the interest of justice, the State no longer wishes to proceed with this matter." The court entered an order dismissing the charge.
More than eighteen months after the lewd conduct charge was dismissed, Collins filed a motion to seal the court record. See Idaho Court Administrative Rule 32(i) (providing authority for a court to seal a record). Collins averred that he had been denied employment on two occasions due to public access to the case, that he feared parolees and probationers with whom he attended meetings could harm him if they discovered the charge, and that the court record contained statements that may be libelous. The district court conducted a hearing at which Collins rested on his brief and the State deferred to the court. After stating that it was a " very, very close call," the court found that the public interest in disclosure outweighed Collins' interests in having the court record sealed. However, the court noted that it would reconsider its ruling if Collins could show evidence that the prosecution had filed the charge in bad faith or for an ...