California Supreme Court: Public Officials Cannot Conceal Emails From Public By Sending From Personal Email Accounts

The California Supreme Court ruled on March 2 that emails sent from the personal email accounts of government officials are subject to the California Public Records Act — a significant ruling with a far-reaching, positive impact on the public’s right to know.

The unanimous ruling shuts off the government’s ability to conceal information from the public simply by putting information about government business into personal email accounts.   The court held that “communications about official agency business may be subject to” the California Public Records Act “regardless of the type of account used in their preparation or transmission.

FAC joined a “friend of the court” brief in the case, urging the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling holding that emails from private accounts were not subject to the disclosure requirements of the California Public Records Act.

Here is the decision:

Download (PDF, 288KB)

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