Asked & Answered

A&A: Protection against libel for Florida reporters?

Q: My company and I are being sued for defamation at state court in Miami, Florida. In discovery, the plaintiff has requested all emails between me and others that mention his name. As a reporter, am I protected by law from having to turn over such information? A: Florida does have a statutory newsgathering privilege […]

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A&A: Is law enforcement body camera footage a public record?

Q: I would like to know if the footage captured by body cameras and their recording devices a public record? A: The anticipated rise in use of body cameras by police does indeed mean there will also be an increase in “records” that could be subject to open records laws in various states. In many states, police investigatory […]

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A&A: Are a city manager’ meetings with his staff covered by the Brown Act?

Q: Recently I learned our City Manager approved the implementation of a significant change to a public fee-paid service without presenting it for a city council review or approval, thus also without ever notifying the affected public as a whole or the media of the change. Impacted residents were individually notified to comply with the change […]

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A&A: Does the CA legislature have an open meeting law?

Q: It seems like neither the Brown Act nor Bagley-Keene applies to the CA legislature. What law governs the process through which the CA legislature, including committees, considers laws and informs the public of opportunity to comment at hearings. And are there laws that prevent a committee for adding a last-minute amendment (without notice) to […]

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A&A: Public Agency claims investigation files are exempt PRA

Q: I filed a complaint alleging the violation of the corporate practice of medicine by a large California Corporation. The complaint was filed with the Medical Board of California. After many months I was informed the case was closed. I asked for access to their files of the investigation and was informed that it was exempt […]

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A&A: Police refuse to release names of individuals who bought stolen laptop

Q: My laptop was taken in a burglary.  When the police located it, it had been bought and sold twice people who had it innocently bought it off Craig’s List. Those people are listed as “witness” on the police report. Police refuse to identify them to me because 1) they don’t release witness identities 2) release their […]

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A&A: New rules by city council restrict free speech

Q: Several months ago the city council majority changed the public comments procedure to make it more difficult for all that wanted to make comments to do so. At a recent council meeting, they changed the ordinance regarding conduct during city council meetings, and more specifically the conduct while addressing the council. For example, if the mayor, in […]

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A&A: Denied request for identities of homicide victims four years after the crime

Q: I have a question about police records you may be able to help with. I’m trying to verify the identities of some homicide victims, four years after the crime. I’ve asked for the name and date of birth of the victims, but the department says they may not release the info. Do you know […]

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A&A: Can I access recordings made by the LA Dept. of Animal Services?

Q: Does a request for public records of public hearings of department of Animal Services include tape recordings of hearing made by hearing examiner? A: As you may know, under the Public Records Act, public records — which include “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or […]

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A&A: How can I stop city from violating Brown Act during budget meetings?

Q: The city is having a budget meeting. The printed budget is over 500 pages and is divided into department sections. The Mayor prohibits public comment by department, instead he only permits public comment at the end of each day’s meetings, and then the public is limited to three minutes. I believe this is a Brown […]

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