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Temporarily seal a case

Steps and sample documents to temporarily seal a case.

Temporarily seal a case

The Supreme Court authorized the Office of Judicial Administration to develop an efiling process to allow a prosecutor to file a case temporarily under seal in appropriate circumstances. 

When a prosecutor wants to file a case temporarily under seal, they can do so by following these steps at case initiation:

Step 1

File an ex parte motion to temporarily seal the case by uploading the motion under the document type in the efiling system labeled MOT: Ex Parte Motion to Seal Case. It is important to use this particular document type so the case is automatically filed under seal. The sealing function is tied to this document type in the efiling system. This motion type is only available when filing a criminal, traffic, fish and game, or juvenile offender case.

Sample ex parte motion to seal a case

Step 2

File a proposed order to temporarily seal the case using the document type PRO: Seal

Sample order to temporarily seal a case

Length of seal

When a prosecutor files a motion under the MOT: Ex Parte Motion to Seal Case document type, the case will automatically be filed under seal. It will remain under seal until the clerk unseals it. A clerk is authorized to process these documents temporarily under seal by Supreme Court Administrative Order 2023-RL-065

After submission

Following submission, the judge will review the prosecutor’s motion and act on the proposed order submitted with it. 

The Office of Judicial Administration gave instructions to clerks to direct them to unseal the case at the earlier of the following two occurrences: 

  • The judge rejects the motion to seal the case or reverses a prior order granting the motion; or 

  • The arrest warrant return is filed with the court. 

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