§ 6-507. Public review of exhibits.

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§ 6-507. Public review of exhibits.

   (A) Unless nondisclosure or confidentiality is required by law or court rule, the following exhibits are presumed to be public records: (1) exhibits submitted in support of or in opposition to a motion; or (2) exhibits offered into evidence, whether or not admitted, in a court proceeding open to the public.

   (B) Procedure. A member of the public may submit to the clerk of the court a written request to inspect an exhibit or request a copy of an exhibit that is presumed to be public under § 6-507(A), even if the exhibit has previously been sealed by the court.

   (1) The clerk shall forward a copy of the request to the court; to the court reporting personnel, if custodian of the exhibit; to the parties in the case; and if applicable, to any interested person as described in § 6-506. The court may order that notice be given to any other person(s) who may be affected by the release of the exhibit. Unless the court, a party, an interested person as described in § 6-506, or other person as determined by the court objects to the release or unsealing of the exhibit within 3 business days, the custodian of such exhibit shall permit inspection or provide a copy as soon as practicable, but no more than 4 business days unless the request cannot with reasonable good faith efforts be fulfilled within 4 business days after actual receipt of the request. The requestor shall pay all reasonable costs for copies of such exhibit(s) pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712.

   (2) If the court, a party, an interested person as described in § 6-506, or other person as determined by the court objects to the release or unsealing of the exhibit, the court shall hold a hearing as soon as practicable. The presumption of public status of an exhibit may be overcome if the court finds that there exists a countervailing interest in limiting public access. A countervailing interest may include, but is not limited to the following: (a) fair and orderly administration of justice; (b) protection of public safety; (c) use of exhibit for improper purposes; and/or (d) confidentiality.

   (3) The court shall first consider reasonable alternatives to sealing or restricting access to an exhibit, including delay in release of the exhibit or ordering the parties to provide a redacted version of the exhibit for public review. An agreement of the parties to seal or restrict exhibits shall not alone constitute a countervailing interest in limiting public access.

   (4) A written order restricting such public access to an exhibit shall be entered in the case and shall state with specificity the countervailing interest. If the court finds no countervailing interest exists in restricting access, then the court shall direct the release of the exhibit by the custodian for inspection or copying. (Appendix 2).

   (C) If the exhibit is nondocumentary in nature, the court, in its discretion, may place limits on access to the viewing, handling, photographing, or copying of such nondocumentary exhibits.

   (D) Unless nondisclosure or confidentiality is required by law or court rule, this rule does not prohibit a court in its discretion, with agreement from the parties and interested persons, if any, from making unsealed exhibits available to the public upon request during the course of a trial or other public proceeding.

§ 6-507 adopted November 25, 2020.