Sunday, November 13, 2011

Greenup sheriff fails to answer records request; that's ruled a violation of state law

The Greenup County Sheriff's Department has violated the Kentucky Open Records Law by failing to respond to a request for records.

On September 16, 2011, John M. Smith submitted an open records request to the sheriff’s department for evidence log sheets relating to a specific case. The department did not respond to Mr. Smith’s request, and on October 3 Mr. Smith filed an appeal to the Office of the Attorney General. The sheriff’s department had yet to respond to Mr. Smith’s request for evidence log sheets or this appeal when the attorney general issued its opinion on Nov. 3.

That inaction violates the Open Records Law, which reads "Each public agency, upon any request for records made under KRS 61.870 to 61.884, shall determine within three (3) days, excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after the receipt of any such request whether to comply with the request and shall notify in writing the person making the request, within the three (3) day period, of its decision."

The attorney general's opinion stated public agencies such as the sheriff's department are not permitted to elect a course of inaction and ordered the Greenup County Sheriff’s Department to provide Mr. Smith with copies of his request unless the department can provide him, in writing an acceptable legal basis to deny the requests.

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