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Thread: NOVA among the worst for FOIA, police transparency

  1. #1
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    NOVA among the worst for FOIA, police transparency

    Courtesy of Radley Balko this morning:

    http://www.theagitator.com/2012/06/2...parency-watch/

    ACROSS VIRGINIA, there are almost no details available to the public about crime that happens every day. From petty larceny to murder, Virginia police officials routinely deny access to basic documents such as incident reports. . . .

    Earlier this year, a State Integrity Investigation ranked and graded each of the 50 states on government accountability, transparency and corruption. Virginia got an F, largely because police agencies use an exemption clause in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act to withhold basic documents in all cases, regardless of what the case is about and regardless of whether the case is open or closed . . .

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that KB.

    Hopefully we'll be able to change the police exemptions soon as well as put some real penalties in place for violations.

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    Dana Schrad is a problem for our community

    Schrad is in the news about stricter background checks:

    Law enforcement officials back closing 'gun-show loophole'
    Law enforcement officials from across the state on Tuesday called for stricter background checks to make it more difficult for criminals to obtain firearms if they are prohibited by law from having guns.

    "This is not about infringing on people's right to own guns, purchase guns, sell guns," Fairfax City Police Chief Richard J. Rappoport said. "Law enforcement and lawmakers ought to sit down and try to figure out how we can regulate that in a way that keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people."

    ...

    Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights organization, countered that people should be able to meet and sell guns just as they would sell anything else online at sites such as Craigslist.com.

    "Are they going to get rid of Craigslist? Of course not. They're just going to pick on guns," Van Cleave said.

    He also opposes a federal law closing the so-called loophole, which he said is not a loophole but something legislators carved out from background-check requirements.

    "That will not do anything to slow down crime," Van Cleave said. "We don't want guns registered in Virginia. It is not the government's business to know how many guns you have."

    Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said any federal law that would strengthen background checks should include exemptions allowing, for example, someone to will a gun to a family member without a check.
    Still, she wants more regulation of gun owners and purchasers, while demanding a broad FOIA exemption for the police.

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    FOIA Subcommittee meets TOMORROW!

    It's tomorrow, Thursday, June 28, 2012, at 01:30PM:

    Meeting of the Criminal Investigative Records Subcommittee of the FOIA Council

    Proposed Agenda
    1. Call to order; introduction of subcommittee members.
    2. Recap of the work of the Subcommittee and Stakeholder's Group to date.
    3. Development of Subcommittee study plan.
    4. Public Comment.
    5. Discussion.
    6. Set future meeting dates.
    7. Adjournment.

    Subcommittee Members
    Craig Fifer, Chair
    John Selph
    Sandra Treadway
    James Schliessman

    Subcommittee Staff
    Alan Gernhardt, Attorney

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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    Schrad is in the news about stricter background checks:
    Law enforcement officials back closing 'gun-show loophole'
    Still, she wants more regulation of gun owners and purchasers, while demanding a broad FOIA exemption for the police.
    Here is part of what Repeater quoted: Law enforcement officials from across the state on Tuesday called for stricter background checks to make it more difficult for criminals to obtain firearms if they are prohibited by law from having guns.

    "This is not about infringing on people's right to own guns, purchase guns, sell guns," Fairfax City Police Chief Richard J. Rappoport said. "Law enforcement and lawmakers ought to sit down and try to figure out how we can regulate that in a way that keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people."

    What about the people sitting down with them? I know that is the function of lawmakers but sometimes behind closed doors and such, they tend to do whatever they want to do. I no longer live in NOVA, moved 10 years ago but I still work there so I'm interested in case I have to move back for some weird reason.
    Last edited by boutaswell; 06-27-2012 at 10:14 PM.

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    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    Sometimes I honestly think that cops/law makers only see people in two ways:
    Criminals that have money and can be milked heavily.
    Criminals without money that need to be locked up.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    I had planned on being there but had a scheduling conflict....Hopefully I'll still make it and video the meeting.

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I had planned on being there but had a scheduling conflict....Hopefully I'll still make it and video the meeting.
    Michael Lee Pope attended -- and wrote about it:

    Despite Failing Grade on Transparency, Law Enforcement Officials Resist Opening Access
    Back in March, Virginia received a failing grade from the State Integrity Investigation as the result of a systematic lack of transparency. Last week, members of a subcommittee of the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council gathered to see if there was any way to reconcile the concerns of law enforcement officials and advocates of public access.

    The debate fell in to a familiar pattern, with members of the press supporting more access to criminal investigative documents while prosecutors and police chiefs resisted any attempt to increase transparency. The meeting adjourned with no action, which means that members of the General Assembly will likely be unwilling to support legislation that the advisory council won’t endorse.

    “The General Assembly has been very reluctant to ever see the access community’s side of it,” said Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association. “We deal with this every year, and that’s why we hoped that the FOIA Council could help us through this process.”
    Perhaps it will require angry, motivated gun activists to motive the General Assembly.

    Gee, do you suppose Commonwealth's Attorneys always tell the truth?
    Investigations never close,” said Mike Doucette, president-elect of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys. “We always have an obligation to go forward, and if we learn of information that we may have prosecuted the wrong person, at that point in time we have to reopen and continue that investigation.”
    False: Misdemeanors have a one-year Statute-of-Limitations. Thus, Misdemeanors cases automatically close after one year. Most gun violations in Virginia are misdemeanors. How many here can FOIA gun-related incidents even after one year?

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    If you get the scribblers up in arms then maybe, just maybe, they will turn up the heat on cops and prosecutors.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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