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Thread: Question - Suggestion for the law library

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Virginia USA, ,

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    Maybe one of our more "worldly" members could put together a FAQ on filling out and filing FOIA requests. Even if it were a single link to a site that describes it, it would go along way to helping members of the site who have negative encounters.

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    North Chesterfield VA

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    This is specific to the Commonwealth of Virginia. On the left-hand side there is a link to "Forms & Letters" that gives examples of how to do FOIA requests.

    Specific info for folks in Virginia - there is no legal requirement that you cite the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (2.2-3700 et seq.)when submitting a request for information. The law makes it a presumption that your request is based on the Act and requires all governmental agencies to respond as if you had specifically cited the Act as the authority for requiring the release of information.

    Further, if your description of the date, approximate time (or time frame), who was involved (by name or not - you can request thatnames be given to youif you do not know them), and a general description of the event/situation is not sufficient for the agency to determine what info you are asking for, they are rerquired to ask you to clarify to help them find the info you want.

    It is not necessary to list all of the possible sources of information, unless you want info from a specific source (for example, all electronic communications, or all voice recordings, or all video recordings, etc.). The simple request for "all information relating to ..." covers you.

    My guess is that every state has some similar agency or office under the executive branch. A basic search ought to locate it for you. If for some reason you run into problems, I suggest you contact the office of the Secretary of State or the general information folks to find out where to get info specific to your location.

    stay safe.

    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Washington Island, across Death's Door, Wisconsin, USA

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    Freedom of Information Wisconsin State Law Library
    Ask A ? | Search Library Catalog | Site Search The Law (Additional statutes, regulations & opinions may apply to your specific situation.)WI Law | Federal Law | State Law | Tribal Law | Legal Topics | Forms | Newspapers | Historic Docs Law Intro | Research Guides | Search Tools | Reference Tools | Directories | Judicial Council | WI Libraries | Home
    Comments: Webmaster
    Last revised: January 17, 2008

    Home > Public Records Template
    Sample Records Request Click here to open text in a new window, and cut and paste into a word processor.
    __________________________________________________ ___________


    Dear MX. XXXXX,
    This is to request, under the state's Open Records Law (19.31-39, Wisconsin Statutes), a copy of the [BE SPECIFIC ABOUT THE RECORDS YOU SEEK]
    Wisconsin's Open Records Law states, in relevant part:
    "In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of the government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. Further, providing persons with such information is declared to be an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of officers and employees whose responsibility and duty is to provide such information."
    The law continues,
    "To that end [the Open Records Law] shall be construed in every instance with the presumption of complete public access consistent with the conduct of governmental business. The denial of access generally is contrary to the public interest and only in exceptional cases can access be denied."
    If my request is denied, please do so in writing and state what part of the law you believe entities you to do so, and advise me of the process through which I may appeal. The law states that you may charge for "the actual, necessary and direct cost" of locating records, if this exceeds $50, and for photocopies; please advise me before processing this request if the total cost will exceed $[SPECIFY DOLLAR AMOUNT].
    As you know, the law requires you to respond to this request "as soon as practicable and without delay."
    Thank you for your time and consideration.


    __________________________________________________ ____________

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