Court Weighs Unsealing of Lynching Records

The full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta is considering whether federal courts can order grand jury records unsealed in old cases of historical significance, the Johnson City Press reports. The case in question involves the 1946 deaths of two young black couples — Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey — at the hands of a white mob. A historian researching the case discovered transcripts of the grand jury proceedings, once thought to have been destroyed, in the National Archives. In 2017, a federal judge ordered the records unsealed. But the U.S. Department of Justice appealed, citing grand jury secrecy rules. A three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld the lower court’s order, but the full court voted to rehear the case. Oral arguments before all 12 judges were held yesterday.

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