Patterico's Pontifications


Appellate Attorneys: Explain This to Me

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 8:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What is a Sealed Appellant and why would the device be used in a child pornography case like this?


15 Responses to “Appellate Attorneys: Explain This to Me”

  1. Are you saying that Mr. and Mrs. Appellant chose a strange name for their son Sealed?

    Voice of Reason (ea3ea4)

  2. While I’m not an appellate attorney, my best guess is that the appellant is the parent of the child in question and the identity is being shielded to protect the child. From the looks of the decision, we’ll never know for sure.

    Pablo (99243e)

  3. There’s no such rule. Minors are anonymous. Nobody else.

    Here’s what likely happened. A prisoner with too much time on his hands sent in an appeal under the name “Sealed Appellant”. A staff attorney reviewed it and sent it on to a Court of Appeals pannel. The Court of Appeals followed the common-law rule that you can call yourself anything you want if you do not intend fraud. And rendered the decision it did. Probably firing that staff attorney in the meantime or gleefully laughing depending on their moods and dispositions.

    nk (284b49)

  4. I crossposted with Pablo. My comment has no bearing on what he said.

    nk (284b49)

  5. Pablo,

    I think you are right. Thanks.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  6. Not on topic for this post, but DRJ (and NK too), perhaps you might want to see what Stashiu posted tonight on his blog.

    kishnevi (da26af)

  7. Thank you for bringing that to my attention, Kishnevi.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  8. Louisiana politics? Someone made a deal that’s pretty ugly? Is Carl Rove hanging around there again?

    Miss Havisham (05582e)

  9. o-O

    Did someone leave to cage door to the moonbattery open again?

    Havish, how the HELL did you manage to pull Rove into this?

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  10. a sealed appellant is what you get when you put caulk in his orifices, dip him in glaze and fire him in a kiln. there aren’t very many available, so be prepared to spend some money.

    assistant devil's advocate (59908c)

  11. “Havish, how the HELL did you manage to pull Rove into this?”

    She didn’t have to, he is everywhere, plotting, plotting, plotting…

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (324683)

  12. I suspect this is a child porn case involving a parent who took pictures of his own child, so identifying the parent in the caption of the case would, at the same time, identify the child/victim.

    The briefs certainly deal with the facts of the case in detail since one issue raised was the constitutionality of the search. Since that was the case, I suspect the briefs were sealed as well — or at least heavily redacted so as to not identify the name of the victim in public.

    wls (328b4b)

  13. Then there’s Sealed Appellant v. Sealed Appellee, 199 F.3d 276 (5th Cir. 2000), which apparently involved grand jury investigation and materials seized pursuant to a search warrant; the materials’ owners apparently didn’t want to have their names made public, and neither did the law enforcement agency involved want to be named.

    The case you linked, though, DRJ, is post-conviction, so presumably it’s not grand jury secrecy being protected.

    I wonder if the defendant-appellant was himself a minor? Or if his sentencing includes some possibility for his conviction to be expunged (like a deferred adjudication)? (Although I would think that less common in the federal system than in state court systems.)

    Beldar (1b8a84)

  14. “Minors are anonymous. Nobody else.”

    Just a thought: naming a parent might name the minor.

    stef (1d0ada)

  15. I wonder if the defendant-appellant was himself a minor?

    Good question, Beldar. Perhaps it’s a case something like this one.

    Pablo (99243e)

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