Tuesday, April 22, 2008

U.S. v. Staffeldt (9th Cir. - April 22, 2008)

Two years? I mean, sure, I understand why the government might not want the name of the relevant AUSA mentioned in the published opinion. He's being reversed, after all. I can also understand why the panel might grant an unopposed motion to delete references to him -- though I could see the other side as well. I mean, it's not like the attorney -- Keith Vercauteren -- is some super-secret undercover spy. Though he did just transfer to the National Security Section in the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office. But if you can get all that off of Google -- and you definitely can -- it's hardly like having his name buried in Volume 451 of the F.3d is likely to result in untoward publicity.

But ignore all that. Here's the thing. The opinion that mentions Vercauteren was published almost two full years ago, in 2006. And the petition for rehearing -- after an extension, no less -- was due way back then as well. Why are we just now getting around to taking his name out?

Maybe the petition for rehearing was just sitting around chambers for two years. If so, that doesn't seem right. Or maybe the government didn't get around to actually reading the opinion and noticing the AUSA's name for a couple years. But that doesn't seem right (or plausible) either. And I doubt that Vercauteren was happy to have his name in the opinion before but only recently had a change of heart.

So why the two-year delay? No idea. I guess it's one of those eternal mysteries.