Search Results for: 4956.9 litigation

FAC Wins Important Ruling for Police Transparency in California

The First Amendment Coalition won an important legal victory in its year-long effort to enforce California’s landmark police transparency law, with an appeals court saying the public has a right to see police misconduct records the state attorney general has on local officers across the state.  The Wednesday ruling means the state’s top law enforcement official, whose agency conducts outside reviews of local police shootings and complaints of officer misconduct, has the same disclosure obligations

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FAC Suit Against San Diego DA Forces Disclosure of Employee Misconduct Records

The First Amendment Coalition has prevailed in a lawsuit against the San Diego district attorney’s office, forcing the disclosure of public records related to accusations of sexual misconduct by public employees. As a result of FAC’s lawsuit, a court ordered the county to turn over dozens of pages of records. District Attorney Summer Stephan’s decision to not comply with the California Public Records Act comes at a cost to taxpayers: The county will pay nearly

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Secret Docket Revealed: FAC Wins Cal Supreme Court Rulings Unsealing Clemency Files

The California Supreme Court has issued a series of rulings rejecting the governor’s efforts to seal key clemency records, ensuring transparency in a critical aspect of the criminal justice process.  The rulings — six unanimous opinions issued Sept. 11 — reject Gov. Gavin Newsom’s efforts to keep secret the files the Governor submits in support of his requests for the Supreme Court’s consent to grant clemency to twice-convicted felons. As a result, Governor Newsom is

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FAC Again Prevails in Unsealing Search Warrants Executed on SF Journalist Bryan Carmody

Three San Francisco judges on Friday ordered the public release of sealed applications for three search warrants executed on freelance journalist Bryan Carmody — for his home, office and phone. The release of these materials should help answer a central question in the Carmody saga: how the San Francisco Police Department was able to obtain search warrants against a working journalist, when such warrants are clearly prohibited under both California and federal law. In announcing her

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FAC Succeeds in Unsealing Search Warrant Executed on SF Journalist Bryan Carmody

A San Francisco judge yesterday ordered police to publicly release sealed documents relating to a search warrant executed on freelance journalist Bryan Carmody, whose home and office were raided by SFPD in an unlawful show of force that shocked journalists and free-press advocates across the country. The order, the result of a motion filed by the First Amendment Coalition along with two press-advocacy groups, requires the San Francisco Police Department to release, by Tuesday, their

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FAC Prevails in Effort to Force CA Attorney General to Disclose Police Misconduct Files

A San Francisco judge today ordered California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to begin disclosing police-misconduct files sought by the First Amendment Coalition (FAC)—a victory for government transparency against one of the few remaining police agencies in the state to refuse to comply with Senate Bill 1421, California’s new landmark police transparency bill that went into effect on Jan. 1. San Francisco Superior Court judge Richard B. Ulmer, Jr. soundly rejected the Attorney General’s claim that

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FAC Forces Disclosure of More Documents From CA Supreme Court ‘Secret Docket’

Even more secret records related to former California Gov. Jerry Brown’s request to pardon former state Sen. Rod Wright became public yesterday—the result of an ongoing effort by the First Amendment Coalition (FAC) to shine light on the decades-old California Supreme Court practice of automatically sealing documents related to executive clemency. The once-sealed records released yesterday include e a detailed investigation report from the Board of Parole hearings as well as an overview of Wright’s criminal history.

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FAC Sues CA Attorney General to Force Disclosure of Police Misconduct Files

The First Amendment Coalition (FAC) filed suit today against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for failing to comply with the state’s new, landmark police transparency law. The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, seeks the release of records regarding serious police misconduct—records that all state and local agencies are now required to disclose under Senate Bill 1421. The bill, which went into effect on Jan. 1, requires the disclosure of files that have been confidential for

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FAC Forces Disclosure of CA Gov. Brown’s Request to Pardon Former State Sen. Wright

Nearly 300 pages of previously secret documents became public yesterday after the First Amendment Coalition (FAC) filed a motion to unseal records regarding Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to pardon former state Sen. Rod Wright. The documents—some still heavily redacted—had been originally filed under seal as part of a flawed, longstanding practice in which all papers filed with the high court as part of a governor’s pardon request are automatically treated as confidential. Such automatic sealing is

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Strategic Litigation

legal work Strategic Litigaton LEGAL WORK Strategic Litigation FAC conducts a program of strategic litigation by initiating “test case” lawsuits to resolve key legal issues in a way that maximizes chances for a favorable outcome, with potentially far-reaching effects.

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FAC, Media Coalition Notch Important Victory in Growing Police Transparency Fight

A coalition of media groups led by the First Amendment Coalition has prevailed in the latest battle in the expanding legal fight over California’s landmark police transparency bill, Senate Bill 1421. On Friday, Judge Charles Treat of the Contra Costa County Superior Court denied a preliminary injunction sought by police unions that would have barred the release of police misconduct records created before January 1, 2019, the date SB 1421 went into effect. Enacted last

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FAC, Media Coalition Oppose Last-Ditch Effort to Gut Landmark Police Transparency Law

A coalition of media groups led by the First Amendment Coalition (FAC) today filed briefing in the California Supreme Court to oppose a police union’s effort to undermine the effectiveness of a new, landmark police transparency law. The law requires a wide range of records relating to police misconduct to be available to the public—a sweeping change in California law. Prior to the bill’s enactment in September, California was one of a handful of states

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Kern County Superior Court Rescinds Public Access Ban

The Kern County Superior Court has rescinded a problematic order used for months to block people from entering its courthouses, an important step in restoring the public’s First Amendment right of access to hearings and trials in one of California’s largest metropolitan areas.  Court officials in Bakersfield issued a new court order explicitly stating that members of the public will be admitted to proceedings in limited numbers, consistent with public health guidelines, following a federal

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Victory: California Appeal Court Orders Records Unsealed

A California appeal court today issued an important opinion affirming the public’s right of access to court records.  The Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles sided with FAC and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, finding that records in a civil case had been improperly hidden from the public. A unanimous three-judge panel cited the common law and constitutional right of access to judicial records, and found the superior court failed to make the appropriate

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FAC Prevails in Lawsuit Against Bakersfield Over Open Meetings, Records Violations

The First Amendment Coalition has prevailed in a lawsuit against the city of Bakersfield, with a judge ruling that the city council violated open-government laws when it held three closed-door sessions to discuss city finances and then refused to release public records related to those meetings.  The ruling, a complete victory for FAC and Californians Aware, which sued to enforce California’s open-meetings and open-records laws, requires the city to turn over records, record any future

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FAC Attorneys Awarded $100k for Public Records Win

A Santa Clara Superior Court judge has awarded nearly $100,000 in attorneys fees to lawyers representing the First Amendment Coalition (FAC) in its successful California Public Records Act lawsuit against the city of Milpitas. Recognizing that FAC’s suit promoted a “significant public interest…in understanding whether high-ranking city officials were acting improperly,” Judge Sunil R. Kulkarni ordered Milpitas to pay the organization’s  lawyers over $92,000 in attorneys fees and $1,260 in court costs. Former city manager

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A&A: When should “anticipated litigation” be agendized?

Q: In 2010 our City Council was contacted BY the IRS about a series of Build America Bonds that the City had received. The IRS felt that the money was spent improperly (by spending on acquiring an undeveloped parcel related to an unrelated legal settlement rather than by initiating a ”shovel ready” project). The IRS threatened to take the money back which would likely have bankrupted the City. This was made public two years later

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A&A: Public notice and disclosure of existing litigation

Public notice and disclosure of existing litigation Q: Our school district has a closed agenda item with the following sentence. Is this allowed?A) EXISTING LITIGATION(Subdivision (a) of Section 54956.9)Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(a) the Board will confer with legal counsel concerning existing litigation; disclosure of the case name might jeopardize current settlement negotiations.How can the public comment on a case without knowing the case? A: Under Government Code section 54956.9, an agency must identify

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Victory for newspaper publisher Tim Crews and FAC in Appeals Court decision

A state Court of Appeal has ruled that small-town California newspaper publisher Tim Crews does not have to pay legal fees to a school board he sued over his public records request. The unanimous decision (see Court of Appeal’s opinion below) represents a crucial victory for government transparency and a welcome success for the First Amendment Coalition, which was instrumental in organizing and underwriting Crews’ successful defense. “The appeals court’s decision makes clear that, in

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