This week in public records – California – Washington – Mississippi

The California legislation, SB1666, hard fought by CALI, PICA and a dozen (only!) other organizations, slunk to defeat when the legislative session closed Thursday night, after the bill was moved to inactive status by one of the sponsors. SB1666 would have created a civil penalty for using a pretext to gain information in business records.

Disappointing open government advocates, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Copley Press v. Superior Court of San Diego. Justices say police officer discipline not a public record, reported by AP.

The public does not have a right to personnel or other records of police officers challenging their discipline or firing, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s case settled conflicting lower court decisions and drew sharp dissent from one justice who said the California Public Records Act demands disclosure.

And, from the Los Angeles Times, Ruling Denies Public Access to Police Officer Records.

Police reports in Washington state related to child sex victims are public records. Court rules child-sexual-assault documents are public record, reported by AP.

A divided state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that documents concerning child victims of sexual assault cannot be withheld under the state’s public-records law simply because the person requesting the information identifies the victim by name.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court also said that as long as identifying information about the victim is redacted, agencies cannot withhold sexually explicit descriptions of what happened.

A Mississippi judged ruled that the city of Jackson violated the state Public Records Act by refusing to respond to requests from the Clarion-Ledger. The settlement requires the city respond to requests and pay half of the newspaper’s legal fees, according to this report.

The newspaper filed suit in Chancery Court on May 30, accusing the city of missing deadlines on responding to requests for information such as crime statistics and travel expense reports. On May 29, Mayor Frank Melton admitted he tore up records requests filed by the newspaper.


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