Judge delays DMR records ruling

From Sun Herald: GULFPORT — Chancery Court Judge Jennifer Schloegel said Friday she will wait to see how a hearing in federal court plays out before she rules on whether the state auditor is in contempt in her court over his failure to produce public records.

And she also stepped back from her order earlier this week that State Auditor Stacey Pickering and the state Department of Marine Resources produce by Monday the DMR records the Sun Herald is seeking, records that Pickering says are part of a state and federal investigation.

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First deadline in Delaware chancery’s ‘secret’ arbitration lawsuit passes without action

From DelawareOnline.com: Attorneys for the Delaware Court of Chancery have let one appeal deadline pass without acting in the lawsuit over the court’s “secret” arbitration program that two federal courts have declared unconstitutional.

Attorney Lawrence Hamermesh, who is representing the Chancery Court, declined to comment today on whether the state plans to appeal the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court or will abandon both an appeal and the confidential arbitration system.

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DelCOG scores major transparency victory

From NFOIC: A federal appeals court has agreed with NFOIC’s Delaware-based member organization, the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, that Delaware’s Chancery Court judges’ practice of overseeing and resolving business disputes in secret arbitrations is unconstitutional.

Following the ruling, handed down last Wednesday by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, state and court officials, including a spokesman for Gov. Gov. Jack Markell’s office, indicated they are considering an appeal.

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NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for October 25, 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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Delaware judges can’t do secret arbitrations, court rules

From Bloomberg: Delaware’s Chancery Court, the country’s leading venue for securities litigation, can’t be used for secret arbitration proceedings in business disputes, a federal appeals court ruled.

The arbitration program set up by the state, which allowed publicly funded judges to make decisions behind closed doors on business cases, violates the public’s constitutional right to access to the courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Wednesday in a 2-1 decision.

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