The Radio-Television News Directors Association has joined an amicus brief
seeking access to legal memoranda regarding the Federal Court corruption trial
of longtime Providence, R.I., Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci.
The brief supports the efforts of The Providence Journal, which sought
the various memos, the RTNDA said, "but were denied access because of the Rhode
Island U.S. District Court's unusual practice of filing memos directly with the
judge, bypassing the clerk's office. The amicus brief protests the practice
because the pleadings never become part of the court record and, therefore, deny
the public the right to know what arguments and evidence were presented to the
The RTNDA added: "In this case, perhaps the most important criminal trial in
Providence's history, certain records become public only if the judge
voluntarily releases them. This policy violates the First Amendment right of
access to court records."