Editorial: Painful as it could be, some files must be made public (Minnesota)

July 3, 2017 2:37 PM

Sometime soon, a Stearns County judge will review about 168 pages that Patty and Jerry Wetterling have asked to keep out of the public eye.

The Stearns County sheriff was set to release on June 5 the entire 56,000 pages of its closed investigation into the 1989 abduction of the Wetterlings’ son, Jacob. The attorney for the Wetterlings, Doug Kelley, persuaded a judge to stop that from happening to prevent the release of a small number of those records that involve details of “the inner workings” of the Wetterling family, according to a court filing.

They argue those records should remain private due to privacy protections in the U.S. and Minnesota constitutions. When Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall declined to push for the release of the documents, a number of media and open government advocacy organizations intervened rather than abandon Minnesota’s public records law. Continue...