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Access / FOIA

Oct 2021

Utah Court Rules Journalist Entitled to Names of Lobbyists Hired to Delist Gray Wolf

Jeffrey J. Hunt, David C. Reymann, and Jeremy M. Brodis

The court held that the names of the subcontractors being paid with state funds to lobby for wolf-delisting were not properly classified as protected “trade secrets” or “commercial information,” under Utah’s open records statute, and that in any event the names must be released because the public interest in access outweighs any interests in restriction…

Sep 2021

Think Twice Before Recording that Zoom: Court Finds No First Amendment Right to Record Live-Streamed Court Proceedings

Rian C. Dawson

The question before the Court was whether Somberg, an attorney, was entitled under the First Amendment to obtain photo-audio-video records of courtroom proceedings streamed outside the courtroom.

Sep 2021

Utah Supreme Court Gives Victory to Journalist Seeking Access to Records of Closed Criminal Investigation

Jeffrey J. Hunt, David C. Reymann, and Jeremy M. Brodis

The Court held that the right of judicial appeal of such decisions under the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”) rests only with the “political subdivision” or the “requester.” 

Sep 2021

Chief Judge Rejects Government’s Security Argument in Request for Capitol Riot Videos

Lauren Russell, Maxwell S. Mishkin and Charles D. Tobin

A coalition of 16 news media organizations has now litigated the release of more than 100 exhibits of video evidence submitted in the prosecutions of the participants in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

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Aug 2021

Pushing Back Against NYPD for Violations of Journalists’ Constitutional Rights

Mickey H. Osterreicher and Robert D. Balin

In a recently filed suit, five visual journalists are suing the NYPD for civil rights violations after each journalist was targeted, beaten, or arrested by NYPD officers while attempting to cover the 2020 George Floyd protests in New York City.

Jul 2021

SCOTUS Strikes Down California’s Disclosure Requirement for Charitable Donors: Decision Lowers the Bar for Facial Challenges to Disclosure Laws

Brian Hauss

Justice Roberts held that California’s donor-disclosure requirement fails exacting scrutiny, and facially violates the First Amendment, because it is not narrowly tailored to California’s asserted interest in policing charitable misconduct.

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Jul 2021

DC Circuit Provides Expansive Interpretation of FOIA’s ‘Foreseeable Harm’ Standard

Adam A. Marshall

Although the foreseeable harm provision is more than five years old, the D.C. Circuit’s opinion in Reporters Committee v. Federal Bureau of Investigation is only the court’s second opportunity to address the standard, and it is the first time it has offered a robust description of what the provision requires.

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Jul 2021

Obfuscating Mercy: How The California Supreme Court Finally Addressed Secretive Pardons

Selina MacLaren and Thomas R. Burke

The new rule rejects the governor’s decades-old practice of automatically sealing clemency files, but places the onus on the public to move for unsealing.