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Thread: FOIA vs. Virginia Supreme Court

  1. #1
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    FOIA vs. Virginia Supreme Court

    Marginally on topic here, as many of our points of discussion count on access to court case information. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    TFred

    No basis for Virginia Supreme Court to withhold records, state council says

    Statewide court records maintained by the Supreme Court of Virginia should be publicly available in compiled form, according to an opinion issued by the state's Freedom of Information Advisory Council.

    The Supreme Court's Office of the Executive Secretary refused to release compiled court records to the Daily Press and instead required case-by-case requests. The Daily Press has been pushing for access to the entire database for nearly a year, arguing that the information is a public record with critical information about how well and fairly the state's courts work.

    [...]

    "Denying access to the complete database while at the same time allowing access to individual case entries does not appear to serve any public purchase, but instead acts as an artificial impediment to access to public records, which stands in contradiction to the stated purposes of FOIA," the council opinion said.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Opinion AO-03-15

    Thanks for the article. The opinion is here.
    In summary, it appears that OES by statute operates and maintains a case management system, the operation and maintenance of the system is the transaction of OES' public business, and therefore OES' case management records are public records subject to FOIA. By operation of law, the respective clerks also remain custodians of those records, and they bear responsibility for maintaining the integrity of those records. To the extent that OES owns or possesses such data, it is also a custodian of such records and likewise responsible to respond to a request for it under FOIA.

  3. #3
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    To be honest TFred, I think any and transparency issues are on topic here. We depend on it a great deal and as you know, the system let's us down often.

  4. #4
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link to the opinion! I meant to look that up and post as well, but I forgot!

    TFred

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