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Announcement: Recorded Audio Files Will Be Available

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Notice to Attorneys
Audio files of all bankruptcy court hearings held on or after July 1, 2015, will be made available to the public through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, unless otherwise restricted or sealed.   Audio files will be embedded in a PDF document and uploaded to the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system. The cost of accessing an audio file via PACER is $2.40 per file. Due to the way that hearings are recorded, some may be split into more than one audio file.  Counsel of record may access the PDF containing the audio file once without charge, just as they do with other electronically filed documents.  Refer to Section XXV of the Administrative Procedures Manual (APM) for instruction regarding how to access the embedded audio file from the PDF document.
Privacy Policy
The judiciary’s privacy policy restricts the publication of certain personal data in documents filed with the court.  The policy requires limiting the disclosure of Social Security and financial account numbers to the last four digits, using only initials for the names of minor children, and limiting dates of birth to the year.  However, if such information is elicited during testimony or other court proceedings, it will become available to the public.

Limiting Personal Information
If information subject to the judiciary’s privacy policy is stated on the record, it will be available in the audio files.  Since counsel and the parties are solely responsible for guaranteeing that pleadings and testimony comply with the rules requiring the redaction of personal data identifiers, the better practice is to avoid introducing personal data and other sensitive information into the record, unless necessary to prove an element of the case.  Also, be advised that clerk’s office staff cannot redact audio files before they are uploaded to CM/ECF.  Please take this into account when questioning witnesses or making other statements in court.  If private information is mentioned during a hearing or trial, you may move the court to seal, restrict, or otherwise prohibit the digital audio file of the hearing or trial from being uploaded to CM/ECF.  Additionally, please make sure that private communications with co-counsel or clients take place away from the microphone so they are not inadvertently recorded.