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A&A: CPR request denied because it wasn’t submitted on letterhead

Q: My request request for mugshot demographics data was denied by the California Department of Corrections. I sent specific data parameters for this information along with my name address and telephone number and received a telephone call from someone in the state archives denying my request. I was told the request was denied because it was not submitted […]

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A&A: How do I protect rape victims in my reporting?

Q: I’ve recently been confronted with how terrible journalistic protocol is around telling the stories of rape and assault survivors. The nature of the crimes committed against them mean that they’re often uncorroborated or unwitnessed and the hostile environment of the internet means that victims who come forward at all are hounded. Is there a way […]

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A&A: How do I challenge the results of a public records act request?

Q:  I am working with a community organization that has filed public records requests with the School District asking for certain data pertaining to enrollment statistics for a subset of their total population. We have reason so believe that the information they have provided is inaccurate. One indicator, for example, is that they have provided […]

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A&A: Can ballot arguments be selected based on political content?

Q:  This case concerns two opposing ballot arguments filed regarding a county measure, both from bona fide organizations. The elections official decided to evaluate the “quality” of the two arguments, as a means of selecting one for publication. He did not consider flipping a coin or random drawing. He had no decision matrix or identified factors […]

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A&A: Are not for profit charter schools required to comply with the CPRA?

Q: Under the CA Public Records Act, are not-for-profit charter schools required to comply? Are any not-for-profit (public, private, charter, etc.) required to comply? A: I’ll address your questions in reverse order.  With respect to your second question regarding whether schools are subject to the PRA depends on a few things.  Generally inour experience, non-profit […]

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A&A: What is legality of reporting on contents of leaked documents?

Q: I have obtained leaked documents that appear to have been stolen from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee  related to the upcoming congressional races. The documents have not been made public. I do not intend to post the actual documents or any personal information (phone numbers, etc) but there are conversations in the documents that I […]

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A&A: Are law enforcement officers exempt from having their court proceedings made public?

Q: My question is regarding Superior Court records. Are law enforcement officers exempt from having their information of court proceedings (non-criminal) available to the public? A: Court records are subject to the First Amendment right of access, and can generally only be withheld from the public if a very high standard is met:  “Under the first […]

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A&A: Ok for court reporter to transcribe mayor’s speech at private-sector event?

Q: The Mayor is speaking at a Municipal League meeting tonight. A resident wants to bring a court reporter so that all of the remarks of the Mayor and others on any topic may be transcribed. Is this allowed by the First Amendment or otherwise? A: It sounds like a private nonprofit is sponsoring a […]

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A&A: Can I be charged for postage for CPRA requested documents?

Q: I made a PRA request and received a reply from the County Clerk asking for postage (I ask to have the documents e-mailed). Looking online, state agencies presumably charge for postage. I have made requests from other state agencies but I don’t think they have charged me postage for items sent. I know local government folks state […]

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A&A: CA Medical Board non-responsive to PRA request

Q: I am a volunteer patient safety advocate in California. I have been trying to get a series of document from the Medical Board of California (and their parent the Department of Consumer Affairs) through public records requests. I think I’ve only received one document, and it wasn’t the document I requested, and the document […]

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