- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

SHAWNEE, Okla. (AP) - A judge has sealed many of the court documents in the divorce of country singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, a move that has raised questions among attorneys over whether Oklahoma law was broken.

The law passed last year by the state Legislature requires a judge to seal civil, divorce and other normally public court records if a compelling privacy interest outweighs the public’s interest in the records. Under the law, the judge must make public any sealing order. That order in the Shelton-Lambert divorce isn’t public, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1OLrZeS ) reported.

Former state Rep. Aaron Stiles, who’s an attorney in Norman, said he wrote the state law after seeing cases in which a judge sealed divorce records to protect their friends.

“They’re definitely not following the law on it,” Stiles said. “…The average citizen, they don’t get their cases sealed. Their records are made public.”

Shelton and Lambert, who shared a home together outside Tishomingo in Johnston County, announced in a statement last week that they were divorcing after four years of marriage. Shelton filed a petition July 6 in Pottawatomie County for a divorce, and the decree officially dissolving the marriage was filed July 20.

A judge sealed the petition, decree and all other legal papers in the case from the public. The only record that isn’t secret is an online docket that shows the case as B.T.S. vs. M.L.S., the singers’ initials.

The rest of the docket sheet is mostly a listing of the legal filings in the case. It shows Pottawatomie County associate district judge, John Gardner, handled the case after the parties agreed that a Pottawatomie County judge could rule on it instead of a judge in their home county.

A message seeking comment from him was left by the newspaper.

___

Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com


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