NJ: Justices weigh public’s right to know in fatal cop encounters

In one of the biggest legal battles over government transparency in New Jersey, the state Supreme Court is poised to determine how much information the public receives in the hours and days after police officers use fatal force.

A key question in the case is whether law enforcement agencies must release records that name police officers who use fatal force in the line of duty. Another is whether dashboard-camera videos of such incidents are public or confidential.


IL: City of Bloomington accused of violating FOIA laws in probe of old murder case

The City of Bloomington, Illinois, is facing a lawsuit over alleged violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA is a transparency law that’s intended to give citizens insights and data about their government and allow them to access important relevant documents and records from any federal agency.

Matthew Topic, the attorney from Loevy & Loevy representing plaintiffs Tammy Alexander and Raymond Wilson in the case, said the lawsuit, filed on Sept 30, arose because the city allegedly is withholding nonexempt public records regarding a murder case.


SC: Public outcry for transparency in police shooting investigations clashes with public records rules

In the wake of recent police shootings, the public outcry for transparency has come head to head with law enforcement agencies’ interpretation of freedom of information laws.

The statutes outline the public’s right to records produced by government agencies but also include exemptions for law enforcement records. Those are meant for such situations as protecting the identity of a confidential informant or keeping investigative techniques hidden from criminals.


Iowa bill would require police to release records in closed investigations

Family and friends of Autumn Steele have many questions about the day the 34-year-old mom was accidentally shot and killed by a Burlington police officer.

Why was Officer Jesse Hill holding a gun when responding to a domestic disturbance in Steele’s front yard? Did Steele’s dog bite Hill as the officer alleged? How many shots were fired?


Maine Supreme Court ordered to release 911 transcripts in Biddeford murder case

From Portland Press Herald: (Nov. 14, 2013) The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled unanimously in favor of the Portland Press Herald’s appeal requesting authorities to release transcripts of 911 calls in a Biddeford murder case, opening the door on whether other 911 recordings are public record.