Maybe Blago’s Attorneys Should Have Attended an ISBA CLE

At Law and Conversation, Helen Gunnarsson is reporting about the motion recently filed by attorneys for Rod Blagojevich. The motion, which seeks to subpoena the President, was supposed to contain redacted information. The information, of course, was not actually redacted, and, instead, was simply covered by black boxes. As Helen notes, both the Tribune and the Sun Times are reporting that this error was caused by a “computer glitch.”

This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard. A “computer glitch” does not cause this problem. The problem is caused because someone did not redact the document properly. There are ways in which a document can be properly redacted, and ways in which it is not properly redacted. Having a document that is improperly redacted is no more a computer glitch than having a document that is properly redacted.

As Helen mentioned in her post, Nerino Petro and I spoke on this issue at the ISBA Solo and Small Firm Conference last fall. Additionally, Helen recently wrote about this topic in the ISBA Bar Journal. Further, both Nerino & I reprised our presentation just last week in Chicago. Further, one need not look far to notice the large number of news stories that talk about redaction done wrong.

This is not a complicated task. Further, it is not one that you can ignore. Before the Northern District of Illinois allows you to sign in to the CM/ECF system, it requires you to check a box stating “I understand that, if I file, I must comply with the redaction rules. I have read this notice.”

Clearly this check box does not prevent someone from filing an improperly redacted document. However, it should make attorneys question the fact of whether they have properly redacted the document they are about to upload to the ECF system.


I am glad that someone in the mainstream media has finally pointed out that this was not caused by a computer glitch. As Eric Zorn states:

Not to get too fussy, but the computers used in this caper all seem to have performed perfectly. The “glitch,” discovered yesterday at almost the same time by competing reporters, was in the brain of the person on the Blagojevich defense team . . . .

Thanks Eric for pointing this out.

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