The Todd Hoffner child porn case is the case that just keeps on giving, to the news media and pundits that is.  As everyone around Southern Minnesota knows, the case involved the head football coach for Minnesota State University-Mankato, who was accused of possessing child pornography involving his children.  The case was subsequently dismissed after a long and contested hearing, for lack of probable cause.  Well it’s back in the limelight now for an entirely different reason.

It appears that Mr. Hoffner filed a request to seal the police and court records.  This alone is not that uncommon for when a defendant wins the case they have the right to then file a request to have the records sealed or expunged under Minnesota Law.  Typically, if the defendant wins, the records are sealed without much fanfare.  But not in this case.  In this case the media wants access to the police records.  I suppose the goal is to let the public see what the prosecutor saw and that way we can make up our mind to see if the prosecutor actually overreacted.

This is an interesting case of perhaps being careful of what you ask for, you just might get it.  As Mr. Hoffner has declared (at least from what I read in the media) he was absolutely innocent of these charges and it seems the Mankato Judge agreed with him.  The problem here is, if you are innocent, if you have nothing to hide, then why bring the motion to seal the records?  Theoretically, the reason is that way no one will now you ever were charged with a crime and you can get your life back in order.

The problem here is a pesky little thing called the internet.  Just for fun I googled “Todd Hoffner” and it returned 34,000 hits.  That’s 34,000 hits.  As I looked at the first few pages not a one of them was a court document or filing or anything that would be affected by this order.  As Lindsey Lohan (and now Mr. Hoffner knows)  you can’t seal the internet and the media reports that are out there.  I think it’s a safe bet that any school Mr. Hoffner may apply to coach at will be keenly aware of his past criminal charges, no matter the outcome of the attempt to seal the records.

There’s a good article at the Mankato Free Press it which highlights the media’s request to see the file and some interesting quotes from Mr. Hoffner’s new attorneys, two lawyers from a large Minneapolis law firm.

I think the editor of the Free Press, Joe Spear, summed it up best when he made the quote  “I’m puzzled why Mr. Hoffner’s attorneys are asking us to stand down. I would think they would be interested in further stories that shine light on how the prosecution was handled.”

Because it’s always easy to play Monday morning quarterback, my legal advice would have been to open the file, shed light on it.  If Mr. Hoffner is as innocent as he says he is, then why seal anything?  Why not let it all out?

Unfortunately, when you are charged with a crime it really never goes away, no matter the outcome.