Patterson v. Burge, et al. - Magistrate Brown Grants Defendants' Motion For Protective Order Re: Grand Jury Materials

In the case of Aaron Patterson vs. Jon Burge, et al., the defendants moved for a protective order barring the parties from disseminating grand jury transcripts of Chicago Police Officers who appeared before the grand jury pursuant to the Office of the Special Prosecutor's investigation. The defendants did not object to the use of the grand jury transcripts for purposes of the present litigation, but contended that public disclosure of the grand jury proceedings conflicts with the principles of grand jury secrecy and would harm their reputation and allow Patterson to exploit several Officers' assertion of their Fifth Amendment privilege. Magistrate Geraldine Soat Brown granted the defendants' motion for protective order, stating, in part, that "public disclosure of grand jury testimony in this high profile case increases the probability that prospective witnesses will be discouraged from participating in future grand jury proceedings." Magistrate Brown concluded that "[i]n light of the well-established principles favoring secrecy for the protection of the institution of the grand jury, the court finds good cause for the entry of a protective order limiting the disclosure of the grand jury transcripts."
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