Early last year, the Commonwealth Court decided that portions of videos recorded on cameras mounted on the dashboards of state police cruisers are public records. The Pennsylvania State Police asked the Supreme Court to review the decision. The State Police argue the videos show investigative information that is exempt from public disclosure under the RTKL and the Criminal History Records Information Act. They also argue disclosure of audio violates the Wiretap Act.
The Commonwealth Court reversed preliminary injunctions that barred a county from disclosing any records related to the county’s district attorney. The members of Nauman Smith’s right-to-know practice group represented the county.
A panel of judges on the Commonwealth Court followed an earlier decision by ruling that porn emails exchanged between judges and members of the Attorney General’s Office are personal emails that do not have to be disclosed to the public. Judge Patricia McCullough dissented. She argued that the emails became public records when they were reviewed by an attorney investigating the prior administration’s prosecution of Jerry Sandusky. She added that public funds were used to pay for the servers and the employee’s salaries. In her opinion, the exchange of thousands of porn emails constitutes an “activity” of the Attorney General’s Office that cannot be shielded from public view.
Executive Director Eric Arneson highlights the OOR’s busiest year. The OOR adjudicated nearly 3,000 appeals in 2015. The report includes statistics on the number of appeals filed with various agencies, identifies the most significant court cases of the year, and discusses the OOR’s social media outreach efforts.
Disclaimer: This blog is maintained by the members of Nauman Smith’s Media and Right-to-Know Law practice group. The members of this practice group represent both: 1) media entities, individuals and corporations seeking access to public records, and 2) local municipalities seeking to comply with the law. THIS BLOG IS NOT MEANT TO BE USED AS LEGAL ADVICE. The purpose of this blog is to provide educational material for individuals interested in Pennsylvania’s open records law, commonly referred to as the “Right-to-Know Law” or “RTKL”. The opinions expressed by the individual members of the practice group are solely their own, and do not reflect the opinions of Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, LLP, or the practice group as a whole.