Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Appeals to Attorney General's office must follow timeline to obtain decision on its merits

An appeal for records was considered premature, according to the office of Attorney General Andy Beshear.

On Oct. 6, 2016, Beshear’s office issued an opinion in the appeal of In re: Johnny Phillips/Department of Corrections, 16-ORD-218.

Phillips on Aug. 14 asked for emails, files and like materials sent or received by any Department of Corrections Central Office of Classification Branch employee, related to his participation in the kosher meal program.

The request was received on Aug. 19. On Aug 26, corrections responded, stating that the records were being gathered and a final response would be sent on Sept. 12.

Phillips appealed on Aug. 30, claiming corrections failed to respond, not attaching a copy of the Aug. 26 response.

Beshear’s office received the appeal on Sept. 6 and notice was given to the Department of Corrections on Sept. 8.

The Department of Corrections gave its final response to Phillips on Sept. 12, as it stated it would, noting that the time and cost placed an unreasonable burden on the department.

A response from the department was submitted on Sept. 23 after Beshear granted an extension, which cited multiple sections of the Open Records Act and several state regulations. It argued the appeal was premature.

Beshear agreed with corrections. Because Beshear determined the appeal was premature, the office is foreclosed from issuing a decision on the merits of the appeal.

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