Judges, open government groups blast exemptions to judicial council draft on open meetings

From Courthouse News Service: SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Comments last week from judges, labor representatives and open government advocates poured criticism on the “vagueness and breadth” of exemptions to a draft rule that would open up meetings of Judicial Council advisory bodies.

But, when asked if the draft rule applies to the Judicial Council’s powerful internal committees, Justice Douglas Miller who heads the Executive and Planning Committee answered directly and clearly, “Yes it does.”

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SF law firm weighs in on Sorenson decision

From TheCalifornian.com: A San Francisco law firm is jumping on a local bandwagon asking the California Supreme Court to review an appellate court’s decision that would ultimately close all conservatorship hearings to the public.

In a Thursday amici letter to the Supreme Court, Duffy Carolan of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, argues the Sixth District Court of Appeals relied on a faulty understanding of the law to rule that all Lanterman-Petris-Short Act proceedings ought to be closed.

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Media organizations ask the California Supreme Court to hear Californians Aware and Voice of OC’s case

From Voice of OC: The Los Angeles Times, the corporate parent of the Orange County Register and the 800-member California Newspaper Publishers Association are urging the state Supreme Court to overturn a gag order obtained by Orange County that allows it to keep documents secret that show what top officials knew about alleged sexual abuse of female workers.

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Bay Area News Group asks court to order Mt. Diablo school district to release public documents on suspected molester

From San Jose Mercury News: WALNUT CREEK — The Bay Area News Group is asking a judge to force the Mt. Diablo Unified School District to release internal records about a former Concord elementary teacher charged with sexually molesting 13 young male students.

Citing personnel and investigatory exemptions in the state’s public records law, the district has refused to produce documents pertaining to former Woodside Elementary teacher Joseph Martin, 45, who pleaded not guilty in July to 125 felony molestation counts.

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Voice of OC asking California Supreme Court to hear records case

From Voice of OC: Voice of OC and open-government advocate Californians Aware have petitioned the state Supreme Court to overturn an Orange County gag order, arguing the county is trying “an end run” to hide what executives may have known about alleged sexual abuse of female workers.

Earlier this year, county officials, including the Board of Supervisors, took the unusual step of seeking the order in criminal court so they wouldn’t have to make information public in the case of former county Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante.

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NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for September 20, 2013

From NFOIC:  A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.

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County transit district (Cal.) set to change email retention policy

From inewsource:  In the midst of an inewsource investigation and with state and federal agencies eyeing its practices, the North County Transit District is considering a policy change that would direct employees to delete certain emails after 60 days.

NCTD currently keeps emails, which often are important documentation of official public business, for two years. The NCTD board is scheduled to vote on the matter Thursday, and it comes at a key point in the agency’s accountability.

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