Latin American free-press advocate drops request to hide conviction record from public

Sean Casey
Sean Casey Florida Department of Corrections

A Latin American free-press advocate has abandoned an effort to seal court records detailing his conviction for a DUI car-crash fatality on Miami Beach.

Sean Casey, who is still in prison for the crime, dropped the request one day after The Miami Herald published a story about his case.

A former projects administrator for the Inter American Press Association, Casey built his career traveling Latin America promoting a free and independent journalism.

After his conviction for a 2001 hit-and-run car crash, Casey and supporters cited free-press ideals in mounting a campaign to try and unseal illegally obtained evidence he insisted showed he was unfairly sent to prison. The legal efforts failed.

Casey is scheduled for release from prison next year.

But last month — in a request deemed “legal chutzpah” by prosecutors — Casey asked to seal court records detailing his conviction, a rarity in a state known for a liberal and open public records law.

Casey said he deserved a chance to resume traveling to Latin America as part of his job teaching the principles of an independent press. But he needed his records sealed because most South American countries do allow in visitors who have been convicted of crimes in their home nations.

The State Attorney’s Office objected to Casey’s request. A hearing set for April has now been canceled.

“He withdrew it because he didn’t want it to become a public spectacle,” said his defense lawyer, David S. Markus.