This week in public records: California

A California appellate court has settled a public records case — the right of access to a Santa Clara County GIS parcel mapping database — in favor of the plaintiffs, the California First Amendment Coalition. The county alternately demanded an exorbitant fee to access the database, then claimed that it was protected for national security reasons, even though they had already sold it to some private parties. Huh? Unbelievably, Santa Clara County argued that release of the digital maps might make the water supply a target for terrorists? Pleeease…

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In another, but unfortunate court decision, the Third Appellate District court exempted from disclosure crime-related autopsy records, claiming they are encompassed under the California Public Records Act exception for police “investigatory files”.


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