Following the jury’s decision, Cole filed a petition with the court asking to have his record sealed. The presiding judge held a hearing on Cole’s petition but denied his petition without giving any reason for doing so.
Cole appealed the judge’s decision, and the appellate court ruled that the judge incorrectly based his decision solely upon the crime that Cole was charged with committing–lewd or lascivious molestation. However, what the judge should have done, the appellate court ruled, was to consider all of the facts and circumstances in Cole’s case. Because the judge did not do that, the court of appeal sent Cole’s case back to the trial judge and instructed him to either grant the petition to seal or else provide a reason, based upon all of the facts and circumstances, why he was denying Cole’s petition.