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Asked and Answered

A&A: Are Community Action Agencies Subject To the Brown Act?

Q: You would think that Community Action Agencies (non-profit 501c3) would be subject to the Brown Act  since they were created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, are required to have 1/3 of their board to be made up of elected officials, and receive huge amounts of federal and state tax payer monies, etc. But …

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A&A: Agency Has Taken Months to Respond to CPRA Request. How Do I Find A Lawyer to Help Me Move Forward?

Q:  I sent via certified mail to a state agency in December of 2017. The only correspondence I have received to date was an email acknowledging they received my request on 1/4/18. However, no response has been given to any of the specific requests enumerated in my verified letter. Isn’t the agency supposed to respond …

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A&A: Can I Gain Access to Police Reports Regarding My Brother’s Death?

Q:  I am trying to get information regarding my brother’s death at the hands of county sheriffs, but so far have not been able to get records because the case is still under investigation. Am I entitled to the records and how would I request footage of the incident? A:  While California’s Public Records Act provides …

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A&A: How Do I Verify If I’m On A Government Watch List?

Q:  How do I know or verify if I am on a government watch list? A:  There may be numerous law enforcement agencies, both state and federal, that keep watch lists, and whether or not you can discover if you are on any particular watch list probably depends on the agency itself.  There are various websites …

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A&A: Is Agency’s “Request for Confidentiality,” Exception to Disclosure Legal Under the CPRA?

Q:  The Department of Managed Health Care cited exemptions to justify withholding requested records including: “Request for Confidentiality,”Section 1007 of Title 28,of the California Code of Regulations, which states: (a) The Director will withhold from public inspection, pursuant to the applicable state and/or federal law, information received in connection with an application (including applications for …

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A&A: University Not Responding to CPRA Requests Made Seven Months Ago

Q: Seven months ago I  made a CPRA request to a state university, which has yet to comply. What does someone do in my situation? Would a lawsuit be appropriate here, and would the university release the documents in that case? A:  Under the Public Records Act, there are certain time limits that agencies must abide …

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A&A: Are Email Exchanges Between Political Officials and Third Parties Subject to CPRA Requests?

Q: I recently tried to access email communications between a current city political official and a former city political official over a local project that’s being funded by public funds. The city responded to my requests, but only with publicly accessible information, essentially amounting to a refusal. Reasons included: the information in these emails was designated …

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A&A: Stuggling to Access Court Records of Divorce Proceedings

Q: I am struggling to get the court record in my divorce proceeding; what should I do? A:  With respect to your court record, you should be able to access this record from the court where your case in pending.  There is a presumptive First Amendment right of access to court records.  Even if there’s some …

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A&A: PRA Requested Documents Withheld Due to “Attorney-Client Privilige”

Q: Cal Fire claims to have released all documents related to a request with the exception of “documents that are protected by attorney-client privilege.” Is there a way to find out what was redacted/withheld? A:  It appears that Cal Fire invoked the attorney-client privilege exemption in order to withhold the documents. In general, California law …

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A&A: Is Artist’s Conviction for Pornographic Drawings Legal?

Q: I draw, from my imagination, pornographic scenes that I sometimes distribute to consenting adults. I have been convicted for possessing pornography for having these drawings. Is my conviction legal? A: Visual arts and entertainment constitute protected forms of expression under the First Amendment. See White v. City of Sparks, 500 F.3d 953 (9th Cir. 2007); Ward v. Rock …

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