Government secrecy should not be legacy of mass shooting, California coalition argues

California’s First Amendment Coalition, joined by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the California News Publishers Association, filed an amicus brief urging an appeals court to overturn a lower court’s ruling that kept death records secret after a 2018 mass shooting. Journalists covering the Borderline Bar & Grill massacre have been denied…

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California coalition sues sheriff’s office for repeatedly failing to provide misconduct, use-of-force information

The California-based First Amendment Coalition has sued the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office for failing to provide information about deputy misconduct and use of force. The sheriff’s office responded to records requests with unjustified delays and denials, according to the lawsuit. “Unfortunately, the public has largely been left in the dark about the Ventura County Sheriff’s…

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California coalition sues county for access to COVID-19 data

The California-based First Amendment Coalition has sued a county in the state for violating California’s Public Records Act. Ventura County officials have refused to disclose information about COVID-19 deaths and about outbreaks at businesses and other non-residential settings. “It’s troubling that government officials would so blatantly disregard their transparency obligations at a time when people…

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CA: Judge Weighs Public’s Right to Know vs. Ex-Milpitas Official’s Privacy in ‘Reverse CPRA’ Case

Public records have already established that former Milpitas City Manager Tom Williams tried to spend taxpayer money on his personal legal fees. They’ve shown that he threatened to sue his own city for $1 million in damages. And they’ve detailed the alarming allegations of harassment, retaliation and ethical lapses leveled against him by former department…

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License Plate Surveillance Company Attacks Nonprofits For Filing FOIA Requests

A private company that sells surveillance technology to law enforcement is telling police departments that they are being targeted and attacked by transparency groups that request public records. Vigilant Solutions, the country’s largest vendor of automated license plate readers (ALPRs), has accused the non-profit groups Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Muckrock of running a campaign…

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L.A. County has repeatedly violated state open records laws, L.A. Times lawsuit alleges

The Los Angeles Times has sued L.A. County, accusing it of repeatedly and routinely flouting laws designed to ensure government transparency. Over the last year alone, county officials have refused to release information about the status of homicide investigations, allegations of sexual misconduct against prosecutors and even mundane information such as email addresses for Sheriff’s…

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Two California public record laws: one for the Legislature and one for everyone else

Documents released in February, showing current and former California legislators had been accused of sexual misbehavior and other harassment, weren’t released under the California Public Records Act. Instead, the Legislature has its own, more restrictive public records law: the Legislative Open Records Act. The California Public Records Act was signed into law 50 years ago…

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ACLU sues LAPD over ‘systemic violation’ of public records law

The American Civil Liberties Union has joined with a journalist, a college professor and an activist to sue the Los Angeles Police Department over what they describe as a “systemic violation” of California’s public records law.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, accused the LAPD of failing to comply with the California Public Records Act by not responding to requests within the time frame mandated by the law or by ignoring inquiries altogether.

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California Supreme Court held that personal email used for public business is subject to disclosure

On March 2, the California Supreme Court held that emails sent to or from the personal accounts of public officials can be subject to disclosure if they are used to conduct public business. The decision stems from a 2009 public records request made to the city of San Jose.

The full text of the ruling can be found here.

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CA: Local journalist wins Freedom of Information Award

When Thadeus Greenson first started investigating a story about the Eureka Police Department, he had no idea what trials he’d face when trying to access information through a video of an officer who arrested a minor.

Greenson, who’s covered the case since 2013, first as a reporter for the Times-Standard and later as the editor of the North Coast Journal, filed an August 2014 request for the arrest video under the California Public Records Act.

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