Editorial: Unseal Bentley divorce records

Editorial: Unseal Bentley divorce records

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - We have recently announced that WSFA 12 News is part of a group that is filing a motion to unseal Governor Bentley and his wife's divorce documents. I have received more than one response saying that it is none of our business why the Bentleys filed for divorce. It is a private matter.

Part of me agrees, divorce itself should be a private matter. Being the Governor of the State of Alabama is a public matter. The actions of the Governor of Alabama while on the public's time and using the public's resources are a public matter.

A divorce filing in this state is public. Of the 33,303 divorce filings in the state of Alabama last year only 180 were placed under seal. That is ½ of 1 percent. It is a rare occurrence that is allowed based on a distinct set of circumstances that were addressed by the Alabama Supreme Court.

We do not feel that the Bentleys divorce falls into any of these circumstances and therefore believe that the records should be unsealed.  If we are successful in our attempt to get the records unsealed, the media, including the news department at WSFA 12 News, will have the opportunity to comment about any or everything that is in the document.

My pledge is that we will be careful in our approach as we are with all of our news stories whether they involve the Governor or anyone else.

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