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Access / FOIA

Aug 2023

Sheriff Ordered to Pay Station’s Attorney Fees After Withholding Recordings of Jailhouse Videocalls Which It Already Had Released

Eric P. Robinson

Judge Toal held that the recordings were public records in possession of a government agency, and thus subject to disclosure under FOIA.

Jul 2023

A Victory for Transparency in Uvalde

Reid Pillifant

More than a year after a gunman killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a judge has ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to release information about the attack and the law enforcement response.

May 2023

Florida Appellate Court Orders Public Release of State Grand Jury Materials from Failed Jeffrey Epstein Prosecution

Nina D. Boyajian and Layal L. Bishara

The Court of Appeal held that courts have inherent authority to order the disclosure of grand jury materials, “despite the traditional rule of [grand jury] secrecy.”

Apr 2023

South Dakota Supreme Court Unseals Billionaire’s Search Warrant Materials, Again!

Jeremy Kutner

A year and a half after the South Dakota Supreme Court unsealed search warrant materials related to billionaire T. Denny Sanford, who was under investigation for possession of child pornography, the court finished the job, unsealing the underlying affidavits that finally told the public what the investigation was all about.

Apr 2023

Significant FOIA Win to Gain Access to MLAT Records on Mexico’s Former Secretary of Defense

Victoria Baranetsky, Dara Gray, and Anise McKinney

Beyond denying the use of a categorical exemption, this case is a unique win because it marks the first time a court has ordered a search of documents when a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty is at issue.

Mar 2023

The Court and the Press in the Murdaugh Murders Trial

Jay Bender

On balance, the press members who were in Walterboro deserve as high a grade as the individuals who worked very hard to fulfill the provision in the South Carolina Constitution that all courts are public.

Mar 2023

Courthouse News Service Continues Its Winning Streak

Jack Greiner and Darren W. Ford

Courthouse News secured another victory in its efforts to preserve prompt access to electronically filed complaints, obtaining a preliminary injunction against the Franklin County, Ohio Clerk of Courts barring her office from restricting public access to newly filed non-confidential complaints, and directing her to make such complaints available to the public and press.

Mar 2023

Tennessee Journalists Prevail in Reverse Public Records Dispute Regarding Naomi Judd’s Death

Robb S. Harvey and Quynh-Anh D. Kibler

The procedural battles were unique, to say the least. Ultimately, the media’s requests were fulfilled, and the Judd family voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit.

Feb 2023

DC Court of Appeals Dismisses Police Union’s Fundamental Right to Privacy Claim Over Body Cam Footage

Sara Benson and Cindy Gierhart

The Court found that the growing consensus regarding a First Amendment right to record police activity in public was incompatible with the alleged fundamental information privacy right asserted by FOP.

Dec 2022

Mass Shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs Prompts Two Successful Unsealing Battles

Steve Zansberg

Judge Chittum ruled that in light of recent events the statute clearly required that prior criminal case file be unsealed.