ROCKLAND, Maine — A judge has rejected a request by a Rockland man to seal from public view documents related to his pending domestic violence assault case.
Judge Patricia Worth, citing the same reasons she shared during Wednesday afternoon’s hearing in Knox County Unified Court, later in the day officially filed her refusal of the request made by Theodore Berry, 24.
Worth told Berry at the hearing that one of the most important protections Americans have over government misconduct or other improper behavior is the fact that most court proceedings are open to the public.
“That sunshine, that bright light, is the way to be sure” things happen correctly, Worth told Berry. “Understood, news of a criminal prosecution is difficult. It’s difficult for defendants and victims.”
Berry, who came within 35 votes of being elected to the Rockland City Council last November, had asked the court to seal any documents pertaining to his criminal case and order the removal from the Internet of a BDN article that reported the arrest. He also has asked that the Rockland police officer who gave the BDN reporter the information about the arrest be demoted by the city, receive a $2 per hour pay cut and receive a decreased security clearance for a year.
The former candidate was charged with assault after a woman reported to Rockland police May 10 that Berry had pushed her to the ground, which caused her to injure her ankle. He claimed in paperwork filed in court last week that the officer who released the information violated the law by disseminating prejudicial information that will make it difficult for him to find an impartial jury and that the information was an unwarranted invasion of his privacy.
Judge Worth did not directly address several other written requests Berry submitted to the court, including those pertaining to the Rockland police officer.