Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Attorney general issues open-records opinions

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has issued four decisions in cases involving the state's open records law. In open-records and open-meetings matters, attorney general's opinions have the force of law but can be appealed to circuit court. The decisions are:

In re: Tommy Withrow/Nicholas Circuit Court Clerk
Because records in the custody of circuit court clerks are properly characterized as court records, which are not governed by the Open Records Act, rather than public records within the meaning of KRS 61.870(2), the Attorney General has consistently recognized that circuit court clerks are not subject to the provisions of the Open Records Act. Consequently, the Nicholas Circuit Court Clerk cannot be said to have violated the Act in failing to respond upon receipt of the request as otherwise required by KRS 61.880(1). Decision adopts 98-ORD-6.

In re: Eric Daley/Lee Adjustment Center
Lee Adjustment Center, a state prison, did not violate the Open Records Act by not permitting an inmate to inspect a contract with a private vendor when the document did not contain a specific reference to him, as provided in KRS 197.025(2).

In re: Gary Dowe/Lee Adjustment Center
Lee Adjustment Center lawfully denied an inmate copies of any documents regarding his allegation of finding a razor blade in his food. The institution had discretion to deny inspection of such documents as a security threat under KRS 197.025(1).

In re: John M. Price, Jr./Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Division of Community Corrections
Decision adopting 99-ORD-30 and 08-ORD-044; LFUCG Division of Community Corrections did not violate the Act in declining to provide copies to indigent requester because his inmate account contained insufficient funds to pay the reproduction charges. In accordance with KRS 61.872(3)(b), 61.874(1), Friend v. Rees, Ky. App., 696 S.W.2d 325 (1985), and prior decisions of this office, the denial is affirmed.

For full texts of the decisions, see the link of interest below.

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