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A&A: CA Police Deny CPRA Request on Six-Month Old Case

Q: Made Request for records under 6257(f) as the “authorized representative”of a victim and police are claiming disclosure would “endanger successful completion” of six-month-old investigation. No objection re standing or anything else just the investigation exemption. They refuse to articulate how disclosure would endanger. Can’t find any case law on this exemption.

A: Unfortunately, law enforcement would likely be given a fair bit of discretion in taking the position that releasing records under 6254(f) “would endanger the safety of a person involved in an investigation or…the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation.” Gov. Code § 6254(f).

If it is factually implausible that the investigation has not yet been completed or that disclosure of records would compromise the investigation, it might be worth pushing back by pointing out the reasons that is true.  Depending on the nature of the records that exist and the status of any investigation, there might also be some records that could be released even if law enforcement has a plausible basis for withholding others.

Bryan Cave LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to First Amendment Coalition hotline inquiries.  In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship has been formed by way of this response.

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