On Thursday the Court of Appeals did something very unusual. Withing several hours, it posted and then withdrew a lengthy opinion. We all wondered what happened. Then it was reported on the How Appealing blog that the Court withdrew the opinion because it contained sensitive information under seal in connection with the 9/11 terror attacks. My discussion of that decision is here.
The revised opinion in Higazy v. Templeton, posted on Friday morning, is here. On page 7 of the decision, the Court writes:
Higazy alleges that during the polygraph, Templeton told him that he should ooperate
. . .
This opinion has been redacted because portions of the record are under seal. For the purposes of the summary judgment motion, Templeton did not contest that Higazy's statements were coerced.
So what the court did was to omit facts about the coerced confession having to do with how the FBI defendant got the plaintiff to confess to the crime that he didn't commit. I have never seen an explicit redaction in a court decision before. But if, as they say, 9/11 changed everything, then it creates this new procedure of explicitly advising the reader that parts of the decision cannot be read by anyone.
Interesting side-note. Although the Court of Appeals asked the How Appealing blog to withdraw its link to the original decision which contained the sensitive information, How Appealing did not comply with that request. So the decision remains on line through the How Appealing blog for anyone to read.