Virginia attorney general says public can get mug shots, but not from state database

The state attorney general has issued an opinion clarifying how the public can access mug shots of people who have been arrested – an issue raised by the Daily Press last fall when it took months of requests to different agences to obtain a booking photo of a former police chief.

In the opinion, released earlier this month, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says local law enforcement agencies must release mug shots from arrests if they have them.

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Does FOIA cover court records? No, Virginia court administrators say

The Virginia Supreme Court's Office of the Executive Secretary has repeatedly refused a request from the Daily Press to release its compilation of case records from most of the state's circuit courts.

The record the Daily Press sought, and that the Supreme Court used to release, compiles summary information about almost every circuit court case in the state.

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Editorial: Newport News erects obstacles to access by imposing excessive costs for documents

The Tech Center at Oyster Point development was promoted as a critical economic development initiative with the potential to create a good many jobs. Its construction will radically change one of the most prominent intersections in Newport News. And ushering it to completion will require a substantial public investment by city taxpayers.

The newspaper continues to ask questions about the project and expects Newport News officials to be open and transparent in response.

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Coalition seeks more open state government

Seventeen organizations that support open government in Virginia have formed a coalition to increase transparency in the General Assembly and foster greater citizen participation.

The coalition, called Transparency Virginia, wants legislators to give more advance notice of committee and subcommittee meetings and to record the votes when panels quietly kill bills.

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Texts count as public records, judge rules

The city must preserve text messages sent and received in the course of public business as public records under the state Freedom of Information Act, a judge has ruled.

Circuit Judge Jack Doyle made the decision in a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. The order was signed and entered Thursday.

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