This week in public records: Pennsylvania – New Jersey – North Dakota

The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania is formulating new policies regarding public access to court case files. The Notice from the court highlights the proposed removal of Social Security numbers and bank account numbers from future court files. The public can submit comments by email, which are due by May 28, 2008.

The New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Public Access to Court Records recently solicited comments on its proposed policy changes. Read the submitted comments and the report on policy changes.

An Opinion issued by the North Dakota Attorney General confirms that email messages from government employees “acting within the scope of their public positions” are public records “regardless of whether it is located at their private homes or businesses.”

Last year, I wrote about a similar determination by the Idaho Supreme Court and the Arkansas Supreme Court. The courts, not the government entity, must determine whether public employees’ emails are private, according to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Read a recent round-up of other state court decisions: Are public employee e-mails secret?, The Des Moines Register, March 18, 2008.

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