Lawyer challenges sealing of file in Topeka Girl Scout death lawsuit

A judge acted unconstitutionally when he completely sealed the record of a civil lawsuit over a Kansas Turnpike crash that killed three Topeka Girl Scouts, contends an attorney who maintains a law practice focused on the First Amendment.

Jeff Elder, chief judge of the state’s 2nd Judicial District, which includes Pottawatomie County, recently sealed the docket in that case, Pottawatomie County District Court Clerk McKenna Smith told The Capital-Journal on Monday.

As a result, there is currently no way for the public to “know what’s going on” with the lawsuit, as is their right in a civil case, said Max Kautsch, a Lawrence attorney and former president of the Kansas Coalition for Open Government.

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