Rules for the Redaction of Trial Transcripts
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure set down specific guidelines for the redaction of trial transcripts. The following information must be redacted from a transcript:
1. Social security numbers (the last four digits can be left unredacted).
2. Birth dates (the year can be left unredacted).
3. The names of minor children (initials can be used).
4. Financial account numbers (the last four digits can be left unredacted).
See, Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2(a). The parties have 7 days from the filing of the notice of the filing of the official transcript to file a notice to request the redaction of these four types of information from the transcript. A copy of the notice must be served on the reporter. See the example posted on the site of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
A statement indicating what is to be redacted must be filed 21 days after this notice. Guidelines posted to the sites of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and United States District Court for the District of Colorado indicate that statements should contain references in this form:
Social Security Number 123-45-6789 on page 12, line 9 should be redacted to read xxx-xx-6789.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has posted a form on its site which breaks the information down in a chart:
If the parties wish to redact any other information, they must file a motion to do so within the same 21 day period. After an order has been issued for further redactions, the reporter then performs the redactions by the date stated in the order. The redacted version of the transcript (or the original if no redactions are performed) is released on PACER after 90 days. Only attorneys who pay for transcripts, and court users can have access to the transcript before this 90-day period is up, unless the public terminal at the courthouse is used to view the transcript.
Some courts restrict access to the transcript of the voir dire proceeding in order to avoid the need to request the redaction of the personal information of jurors.