U.S. v. Pappas
A court may reconsider an earlier decision to unseal a court document in order to prevent a manifest injustice. In the underlying case, a jury convicted the defendant, Marcos Pappas, of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and retaliation against a witness. District Judge Peter Dorsey sentenced Pappas to 30 years in prison. In 2011, absent any objection from the government, Judge Dorsey granted Pappas' motion to unseal document #231. After Judge Dorsey passed away in 2012, the government moved for reconsideration. When ruling on a motion for reconsideration, a court may consider whether there has been an intervening change in the law, new evidence is available or a need exists to prevent manifest injustice. Here, "reconsideration is appropriate," wrote the District Court, "to prevent a manifest injustice." Unsealing the document would provide the defendant, who previously was convicted of witness intimidation, with the identity of an individual who cooperated with a government investigation. Disclosure of the document is not required pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1963 decision in Brady v. Maryland or its 1972 decision in Giglio v. U.S. Previously, Judge Dorsey indicated that information in the document was considered only for purposes of scheduling the date of sentencing. Good cause exists to keep the document sealed, to protect the informant from a defendant who previously was convicted of witness intimidation. The District Court granted the government's motion for reconsideration and ordered the document to remain sealed.