Starting this month, FAC has retained veteran first amendment and access lawyer Judy Alexander as FAC’s Special Access Litigation Counsel. Judy will be representing FAC in access cases across the state as part of FAC’s expanded litigation initiative.
Alexander, a former FAC Board member, has 25 years experience in first amendment and access matters, including litigation for news media and other clients to obtain access to public records, meetings, courtrooms and judicial records under the California Public Records Act, the Ralph M. Brown Act, the federal Freedom of Information Act and the First Amendment.
While litigation has always been a big part of FAC’s agenda, the addition of Alexander gives FAC the capacity to file more lawsuits challenging unlawful obstacles to access at the local level.
“We are delighted to have Judy working for us in this new litigation capacity,” said Peter Scheer, FAC’s executive director. “By filing selected lawsuits to overcome agencies’ denials of access, we hope to send a strong message to government bureaucracies,” Scheer continued. “The message is: “You cannot disregard the public’s and the media’s open-government rights with impunity.”
In addition to Alexander, FAC contracts with Holme Roberts & Owen to provide FAC’s Legal Hotline service. (Firm partner Roger Myers is FAC’s General Counsel). FAC also relies on multiple law firms to represent it pro bono in complex “test case” law suits. These include a pending case against the California State Bar (in which FAC is represented by Sheppard Mullin) and a legal initiative involving China and the WTO (in which FAC is represented by King & Spalding).
Alexander’s clients have included Salon.com, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, Center for Investigative Reporting, Sacramento Bee, Palo Alto Weekly, Copley Press, San Francisco Chronicle, Monterey County Herald, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, NBC, Fox Television, KOVR-TV and Mother Jones magazine.